In a welter of color, fabric, and imagery, Woomin Kim’s Shijang Project generates the energy and excitement of the markets of Seoul and Queens, places she calls home. Anchovies, Aprons, Backpacks, Brass Fixtures, Brooms, Buckets, Buttons, Chains, Chamomile, Chandeliers, Clogs, Deer Antler, Dried Citrus Fruit, Dried Ginseng, Echinacea, Eel, Fire Extinguishers, Fish Cakes, Floral Dresses, Ginger, Graphic Tees, Green Onions, Grouper, Hose, Lingerie, Lollipops, Mackerel, Magic Wands, Mops, Notions, Novelty Hats, Purses, Rain Boots, Rakes, Ribbons, Slippers, Sole, Stickers, and Toy Cars and are rendered and stitched together from scraps of Cotton, Chenille, Chiffon, Crêpe, Georgette, Lace, Leather, Lurex, Muslin, Organza, Satin, Silk, Polyester, and Velvet. The materials used to create these quilted memory palaces have been donated by friends or purchased during annual pilgrimages to Korea or visits to local Queens fabric shops, each scrap a potent memory in and of itself.
Shijang in Korean translates as “market” but these spaces are more than just commercial enterprises, they are also public forums and places where a sense of community is developed. In Woomin Kim’s hands, fabric becomes a way of capturing the warmth and vibrancy of these spaces, offering a narrative that is more accurate and personal than the often flattened and homogenized depictions of the Shijang. Filled with images of common household items, Kim’s quilted works celebrate the quotidian, transforming the familiar into something precious, the plain into something extraordinary. Woomin Kim makes a place called Home.