Sunday, June 12, 2022

Weekend Review: Bojagi


Bojagi / Sara Cook
London: Batsford, c2019
128 p.

I love Batsford books; they are tactile and lovely, with nice fuzzy covers and lots of great photos inside. This one is no exception. It's a look at Bojagi, a traditional Korean textile art. Written by a British woman, her authenticity to write about this subject is addressed in a foreword by a renowned Korean artist, who vouches for Cook's study of the technique with Korean teachers and her skill at using it. 

The book is beautiful, for sure. And it's full of very specific instruction and technique for you to learn the ropes yourself. It shares traditional techniques, from whole cloth to patchwork to embroidery to household goods. And it also shares beautiful images of how these techniques have been used in contemporary textile art. 

The book is broken up into chapters that logically follow on from one another; from history to technique, with projects showing you how to try things out yourself. 

Something I found really interesting was a bit on Jewel Pattern, what we in the West know as Cathedral Windows. She notes that the first documented appearance of this pattern in the US was at the 1933 World's Fair, but that the pattern appeared in Korea already in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) There is a project for this pattern if you haven't tried it before.

And the book talks about more than simply the patchwork style that we often think of when talking about bojagi -- she also delves into seam treatments, embellishments (like knots and folded points of fabric), & quilting styles. There is history and  cultural context, illustrated with many wonderful images. From clothing and household uses to art pieces, these techniques are used for everything. 

Traditional household items - cloth covering and caddy

I really loved how detailed this book is, sharing so many techniques and explaining, with examples,  both former and current usage. And there is such a depth of knowledge and respect for the cultural source of all these styles. It's a really dense read, with each page full of interest. From the history to the craft to the bright, large images, this is one to pore over. I really loved it and could go on and on but it would be best for you to check it out yourself :) 

Modern bojagi inspired pieces

This was a book that I found surprisingly compelling - it's so full of information that I could read it numerous times. And the structure and progression of the chapters is really well done. Plus I can't say enough about the quality and number of clear, bright photos. This was a big hit for me. Recommended.


  1. Thank you for your review of Bojagi. I've ordered it from the library. It looks like it might offer ideas for using the huge collection of small fabric scraps in my sewing room.

    1. So glad you could get it in your library! Hope you enjoy exploring it.

  2. I have never heard of Bonjagi before - it is quite intriguing. And it sounds like a good companion to zero waste sewing. One of the sites I was reading stated '....In the past, bojagi was made of cloth or silk materials left over after making clothes....'. Even with ZW design I find it impossible to never have left overs. Plus I have left overs from a few decades already to use, and this looks more than patchwork. I have ordered it from the library and look forward to spending time reading it (and hopefully using it). Thank you for a lovely review.
    ... Sara

    1. Yes, always leftover bits somewhere! Glad you are interested in this one and were able to find it through your library :)


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