Chung says that needle and thread “proved to be powerful, life-changing tools that carried [her] along a fascinating pathway across time and space.” During Korea’s difficult period of post-war reconstruction, she harnessed her talents to positively impact the lives of many Korean women. With her training in embroidery from a young age, she began to formally teach the art form by establishing South Korea’s first government-sanctioned vocational embroidery school, The Women’s Center, and nurtured a new generation of Korean embroidery artists. The quality of Chung’s works attracted attention in Korea and abroad, leading to commissions to produce works for the presidential palaces in South Korea, West Germany, and Malaysia.
After completing her PhD studies at New York University, she published a series of books that have become invaluable references for the field, and she has taught and exhibited her work throughout the world. In 2004, she founded the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, and in 2011 she established the Seol Won Foundation, which seeks to advance the knowledge of textile arts while promoting cultural understanding between the East and West.
Photo credit: John Bigelow Taylor