So you’ve tried kimchi and didn’t burn your tongue on that “wild spice.” You’ve toured the DMZ and all the temples and palaces to tick the tourist qualification off your list. You’ve had enough wild nights out in Hongdae and Gangnam to get you into the drinking hall of fame. So now what?
How about trying your hand at creating something with your own hands? Remember what that was like? For some of us, it harkens back to playing with finger paints as a child, while others are just a few years out of art school.
No matter where they’re coming from, many people have a need to express themselves. The problem is it’s hard to find that creative outlet when living in a foreign land. Between the language barriers many of us face and the sheer size of the city, it can be pretty difficult to find what we’re looking for when in need of an art or craft experience.
Graduating with a degree in fine arts, it still took me three years here before I found a studio with a printing press to use and a regular life drawing session to drop in on. So we’ve put together a roundup of a bunch of great places in Seoul where you can get your creative juices flowing in English friendly environments.
First up, if you’re interested in trying something cultural, the Seoul Museum of Art has regular workshops throughout the year in oriental ink painting where you can learn various traditional brush techniques to produce your own Asian masterpieces.
Another great spot to try your hand at something uniquely Korean is Korea House, where they have 1.5 hour lessons, called “direct experience programs” in Hanji (traditional Korean paper) arts, traditional knotting, paper mask making, as well as lessons in making Kimchi and Flower Sanbyeong (rice cake).
Also check out the Seoul Cultural Center to create Korean traditional handicrafts that you have probably either bought or seen at souvenir shops. They also have tons of other Korean culture activities at the center as well.
CYE Studio near MeaBong Station is the place to go for intensive jewelry making classes under master jeweler YoungEun Choi. In her small group classes from beginner to advanced levels you’ll learn about silversmithing, goldsmithing, wax carving and stone settings as well as gemology.
I get a lot of people contacting me about ceramics. So here are two options for the pottery lovers out there or for those just curious about giving it a try.
MORE Pottery Studio near Hyehwa Station (Hansung Univ. line 4) offer classes in wheel throwing, molding and hand painting.The Studio near Hyehwa Station>Hansung University Station (line 4) [email protected]
JiHyun Chung Ceramist Studio in Garak dong (line 3) provides lessons in handbuilding & throwing, as well as glazing and firing. [email protected]
Want to learn how to use that fancy camera you spent a month’s salary on? Scorpio Studio: Photography and Art offers basic workshops and lessons in how to use your DSLR to get you started on the path to great photos.
There is also Studio 11 where renowned photographer Michael Hurt runs several photo classes and workshops on the relationship between shutter, aperture, and depthoffield. Learn about how to work with studio and natural lighting and all the tricks of the trade to have you rocking your camera for all it’s worth and not just snapping shots of the meal you just paid for.
If you’re interested in expressing yourself through music, go check out DEELEEBOB Music Company in Haebangchon, where individual lessons and consulting are offered in guitar, bass, drums, keys/synths, and computer music by established professional recording and session musician, Lance ReeganDiehl.
There’s also the Camarata Music Company if you’re after vocal lessons or more classical musical training. They also offer a number of performance opportunities if you’re interested in hitting the stage with a professional choral group. They’re also located in Haebangchon.
Interested in making your own fine leather bag wallet, Chad Keane Artelier in Myeongdong offers courses in hand stitching and saddle stitching throughout the week. Sign up for a course of 2 to 12 months and walk away with a great collection of high quality leather gear to make your friends envy you over.
Their website is mostly in Korean, but English instruction is offered and spoken well by their talented instructors. There is a trial class every Sunday, so stop by and give it a try. [email protected]
Do you have kids? Norang Café in Gangnam has arts and crafts lessons and activities for kids while parents can enjoy coffee and cake in their cozy cafe and creative playspace for kids and families. They also take bookings for groups and parties. [email protected]
Finally there’s one place I have to mention. It’s actually my own studio, Jankura Artspace, which is just a quick walk from Itaewon Station. We offer lessons in fine arts for anyone looking to learn a new skill or brush up on old ones. JAS has everything in one place.
We have drawing and painting lessons as well as workshops in a variety of mediums, including oil painting, printmaking, silkscreen, silk dyeing, anatomy drawing, photography and portfolio consulting.
There are also open life drawing sessions and events with nude or costumed models, making Jankura Artspace a one of a kind place for you to explore your artistic side surrounded by other artists and art lovers.
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