Gwangjang Market

Before I left Korea, a couple nice classmates in my bojagi class offered to take me to Gwangjang Market (광장시장) to get some fabrics and supplies. They could tell I really enjoyed making bojagi and wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to continue after I got back to the States.

먹물삼베 better version
Selection of naturally dyed hemp cloth at Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market is one of the largest and oldest traditional markets in Korea. It has the best selection of fabrics, reputable street food, and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.

빈대떡
Korean mung bean pancake (빈대떡) is a popular food item at Gwangjang Market

If you’ve ever been to a large market in Korea, you know it can be quite overwhelming, with stalls and stalls of vendors selling seemingly identical items at similar prices. Luckily, my classmates knew all the right places to go. One of them had grown up going to Gwangjang Market with her mother and grandmother.

thread store sign
Indoor section of the market, where sewing supplies are sold

The first place we went to was a shop selling silk thread and other sewing supplies. The selection and prices were excellent. I spent a long time there picking up a wide range of threads and tools.

threads

multi colored threads
multi-colored thread

Then we went to a shop called 황해 상회, which was recommended to me by several people.

황해 sign
Storefront for Yellow Sea Market (황해 상회)

They sell all kinds of fabrics including specialty vintage fabrics and hanji silk. I was told the hanji silk is usually produced in Sangju in North Gyeongsang Province (상주, 경상북도) or Eumseong in North Chungcheong Province (음성, 충청북도).

I was especially taken by their selection of hemp cloth (삼베) and ramie (모시).

sambe
Ramie (모시)
naturally dyed sambe
Naturally dyed hemp cloth (삼베)

Our final stop was at a silk shop right next door, called Dong Myung Silk (동명실크). They specialize in silks for hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), but the silks are also great for bojagi and other crafts.

동명실크

They had so many different kinds of silks in so many colors.

silks

노방 sample book
Sample book of 노방, a thin, sheer silk
노방
Example of 노방 that we found on one of the shelves
노방 closeup
Here’s a close-up… a lovely, delicate silk

If you get a chance to visit Gwangjang Market, I highly recommend any of the above shops! The selection was great, prices were reasonable, and all of the vendors were really kind and not pushy. After you get your shopping done in the morning you can do what we did and get some mung bean pancake (빈대떡) for lunch. Grateful to my bojagi classmates for taking me under their wing!

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