ginny branch stellinginterviewswhat's in your toolbox

what’s in your toolbox: soojin kang

by Ginny

All Photos by Ania Wawrzkowicz

Soojin Kang is a designer hybrid of pure genius, equal parts textile and furniture with a dash of fashion. Soojin explores different emotional and sociocultural relationships, particularly addressing the concept of disposable fashion within her “dressed furniture series.” She elevates the concepts of repurposing and reusing to an elegant medium, and it is a theme that defines her work. I love seeing how artists continue the trend of breathing new life into discarded materials and methods, and Soojin delivers a fresh approach every time. Read on for a glimpse into this truly clever and mindful designer. — Ginny

1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?

Soojin Kang: Needles, pliers, scissors, sanding papers, threads, tape measure, staple, brush, knife and glue are the tools I definitely feel restless without. I like scissors. My favorite brand is Fiskars. I like the combination of orange handle and stainless [steel]. Sometimes I have to cut so much stuff, and it can be boring work. But the orange colour gives me pleasure during the boring work. It is like when you wear your favorite shoes; you want to walk around more.

2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _____________.”

Soojin’s interview continues after the jump . . .

3. Design*Sponge: What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

Soojin Kang: I have been always interested in traditional craftsmanship and currently am obsessed by suede leather and handspun yarns. I like them more and more. I keep sawing and knitting with them, but then it becomes my future inspiration.

4. Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?

Soojin Kang: I tend to make a list every morning and try not to delay it to tomorrow. I don’t like to make a schedule in much advance because it never works out [for] me. I like to be open.

5. Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Soojin Kang: I want to communicate with animals and plants by speaking. They are so great. They already teach us some great things. I can’t imagine if they [could] tell us their thoughts as well. It [would] be the best thing!

6. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?

Soojin Kang: Although I didn’t fully understand what it actually meant, which is believe in yourself and what you do, my advice will be the same to the young artists: Believe in yourself and what you do.

7. Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks?

Soojin Kang: According to all my friends, I have a very unhealthy way to combat my blocks. I keep on working and thinking until I find something and get over it. I like those periods of time; I don’t go out and meet people, and sometimes I forget taking a shower for a week. It is a pain but interesting, too.

8. Design*Sponge: Where do you like to shop for inspiration?

Mostly flea markets in London. Spitalfields Market and Portobello Market. But the best shop for me is streets. People throw away amazing stuff. Walking around [the] corner sometimes works much better than the museum to me.

9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Soojin Kang: Louise Bourgeois. She must [have] been such a beautiful person just like her work. If you love someone, you want to see where she/he lives or works? The same reason.

10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Soojin Kang: Tenniscoats and Deerhoof. I find all their music inspirational. I recently went to Tenniscoats’ gig in London and am still in love with all their music.

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