It was our second trip to Insadong in less than a week. Danielle noticed a little stand that specialized in carving personalized “stamps” (dojang or name chop) into small stone blocks. After looking into it and deciding that the stand’s offerings were a bit tacky, we made off, ready to wander into another shop. It just so happened that one of the nearby stores also offered personalized dojang engravings. However, their collection of stones, as well as the atmosphere, was far superior. Danielle decided, almost right away, to get a personalized dojang. She picked a stone, wrote her desired text: “wake up and dance” on a piece of paper, and the process began.
Although it may sound simple, carving these stamps requires lots of talent, not to mention a steady hand and a keen eye. The base of the stone is sanded a bit to smooth out any imperfections. Next, a “stencil” is painted on the base. The stone is then placed in a vice, and the carving begins. You can select one of two styles. Danielle chose the option where the letters or design on your stamp are carved into the base. After watching the process and seeing the outcome of Danielle’s dojang, I had no choice but to get one. It was just too cool. With the other style, (the one I chose) the carver carves around your lettering or design. The choice has to do with negative vs. positive space. Danielle’s leaves the lettering white as it doesn’t make contact with ink. My lettering (my initials) is colored, while the background remains white.
Danielle and I are both really happy with our decisions to have these made. They’re cool souvenirs, and ones were likely to use for a long time. The stamps come with presonalized ceritificates, stamped with a rabbit (it is currently the year of the rabbit). We also got some red ink and boxes to store our new “name chops”.
In the picture above, one of the shop’s talented carvers works on my dojang. If you want to see how my dojang turned out, check back in the next couple of days for dojang (part 2).
Another “prop” in the Heyri Artist village. I’m not sure whether this vehicle belongs to someone, or is simply part of the scenery in Heyri. Regardless, the red color caught my attention, and a picture had to be taken.
It only took a couple of months, but Danielle and I finally got out of Seoul. Taking trips out of town can be a little difficult to squeeze into a weekend, so we waited until our week-long winter break to venture out. We took a bus to the small artist community of Heyri, about a half hour north of town.
The place was virtually a ghost town; surprising, considering the temps were in the balmy 30’s (F). Did I mention it was a Wednesday? The community is full of galleries, modern architecture, and cafes serving up espresso drinks at nearly $6 a cup. Visually, it is a treat. I can’t wait to take a trip back there, perhaps in a different season, when I’m sure the town is bustling with gallery goers, art, and music. As for our first trip to Heyri, it was great! It’s nice to get away from the big city and the 20 million people that live there.
Heyri, being the artist community that it is, inspired me to take some “artsy” photos. I will post several more of these in the coming days. Enjoy!
a spider sculpture outside of the Leeum - Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul
It was a cold snowy day in Seoul, so Danielle and I decided on an activity that would place us primarily indoors. We hopped on the subway and went to the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. No photography was allowed inside, so I took this photo after we finished looking at the art indoors.