Thursday, October 30, 2008

Korean Chilbo

I've become a lot more adventuresome in my neighborhood now that I know what city bus to catch. Last week, I took a bus to one of the gates and got off to explore. Korea has to be the capital of tiny shops. Everything you can imagine you can find if you know where to look.

I was walking down the major street where all the buses run when I walked by this jewelry shop. I was talking on the phone to Curt (hubby) at the time and I cut him off in my excitement to enter the store. Inside was the most beautiful jewelry I had ever seen.

The picture above is the store owner and artist.

It is called chilbo and it's Korea's version of enameling. It involves melting glass onto a brass surface. I knew the minute I walked into the store that I wanted to learn how to do it. My Korean girlfriend called the owner and she was willing to teach me. My first class was yesterday. Hellena went with to help translate this first class but it turned out that we communicated really well. I watched everything the teacher did and just repeated what I saw.

My first class involved learning how to paint the enamel onto the surface. The powdered enamel looks a lot like wet sand and also acts like it. It was harder than I thought. You use a regular paintbrush to apply the enamel but it was tricky making it even and spreading it out to the right thickness. The above pendants have a base coat of enamel and then are sprinkled with glass shards.

You have to have a kiln to melt the enamel. She placed the finished pendants on top of the kiln so that they would dry out first. Then she placed them into the kiln and had me watch as everything melted down. It only took about 1 -1 1/2 minutes.

She then removed them from the kiln and let them cool for a few minutes. They were finished by running water over them. She then glued them into the pendant holders.

This was the first one I did and it was to see what the matte colors looked like and how the glass moves when melted in the kiln.

These are pieces I bought last week when I was in the shop for the first time.

She only charged 10,000 WON (about $10 US) for each of these pendants. I thought that was a steal.

This pendant is also a pin and was 20,000 WON ($20 US).

The chilbo is very lightweight so it is a perfect match for my maedeup (Korean knotting). She had many pieces in her shop with maedeup. I am taking private lessons every Wednesday for five weeks. The price was 200,000 WON ($200 US) which includes all supplies. I'm in crafter's heaven!


CreekHiker said...

How exciting! Those pieces are amazing!!! You lucky girl!

Helena said...

How cool! I really like that last pendant.

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