A visit to Dongdaemun market always leaves me inspired to start making stuff. Last time I came here I became mesmerised by the mind-boggling array of beads on sale and decided to start jewellery making. I haven’t actually made anything yet, but I do have lots of beads. 😉 Then recently I bought a book on Korean knotting, maedup 매듭 and so headed off to the market to get some cord so that I can start knotting!
Traditional knotting was used to make accessories for hanbok, but bracelets seem to be a popular accessory to make with knotting these days. I saw a couple of young women learning to knot at a stall selling cord and ready-made bracelets (above). But I was looking for a specialist maedeup stall. And that was not easy to find.
The market is HUGE. But lots of stalls are closed on Saturdays. (It’s completely closed on Sundays) When I saw all the shutters down on some of the floors in the market I was concerned that we had made a wasted trip. But happily the accessory floor was in full swing.
The accessory floor (5th floor block B) has stalls specialising in everything to do with making jewellery and accessories – ribbons, beads, embroidery threads, leather to make necklaces, material badges, buttons, zips, and sewing tools (unpicks, thimbles, needles, etc). Material and Wool have their own floors in other parts of the complex! In fact it’s so complicated that there are guides employed to help customers to the right place. And we needed their help Here’s a shop selling leather to make necklaces.
I started my hunt in a very haphazard manner – simply pottering from one interesting stall to the next interesting stall. But this approach always ends in confusion (and an argument if you go with a grumpy partner) Mr. Kim was walking behind me muttering under his breath that we were walking around in circles. I have a very bad sense of direction but I did begin to realise that I was visiting the same stalls twice….So I changed my strategy trying to walk up and down each aisle in a logical, organised fashion.
But still, although there was a lot of thin cord on sale we didn’t see any specific maedeup stores. Apparently proper maedeup cord is stiffer and thicker than the cord we saw. And I had the added problem of getting side-tracked. I stopped to take a picture of these beads …
But at least I found the tools needed for maedeup (an awl and a loop turner – they had two sizes so I bought one of each) in one of the stalls in the market selling sewing equipment – needles, thimbles, scissors, etc. I had to rummage around until I found them.
But we couldn’t find a specialist shop for maedeup. So Mr Kim checked on the internet (perhaps we should have done this in the first place) and discovered that the maedeup specialist stores are in another market nearby! So we headed outside walking along the Cheonggyecheon Stream and past stalls selling fashion accessories and fashion mannequins, to the market in the basement right outside Kwangjang market.
And here they are: A group of specialist stores in the underground market next to a shoe shop!
Cord available in every colour for Korean knotting is bursting off the shelves. The lady running the shop was sitting quietly knotting when we arrived. Each ball of cord cost 8,000 won. I love the messiness of the shop. It makes me just want to dive in and start rummaging through the colours and start making. Something.
I think the book I bought on knotting – Elegant Knotted Jewelry by Becky Meverden (who writes the blog The Constant Crafter) gives a great overview of maedeup – its background, the different types of knots, and the tools needed. And I was keen to get my cord and start knotting asap. The book has lots of patterns for jewellery and I am determined to get good enough to make at least one necklace!
But as I am a complete beginner in the knotting department, I felt that I needed a bit of extra help with the basic steps to make my first knot. I wasn’t sure just by looking at the pictures if I was doing the first knot (called dorae) right. or knot 😉 so I turned to Youtube for help. This video was the most useful. It really shows every step of the way to make a dorae knot.
The dorae knot should look like a cross on both sides.
I think I’ve got the hang of it now, but another skill is getting the knots the same distance apart. This is going to keep me busy for a while!