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[Well-curated] Seoul Plaza Night Library, SAC outdoor cultural events, DIY stained glass

Aug. 18, 2023 - 09:01 By Hwang Dong-hee By Park Ga-young By Hwang Joo-young
Visitors attend previous editions of the Seoul Plaza Night Library this summer. (Seoul Metropolitan Library)

Literary escape to Spain, Brazil

Seoul Plaza’s Night Library continues its weekend events with a thematic focus on Spain and Brazil.

The outdoor library operates during the hours of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., offering the feeling of "traveling" to different countries while relaxing with books. Imagine lying on a bean bag at Seoul Plaza, surrounded by the warm glow of LED bookshelves and moon balloon lights. There are booths dedicated to recommending books and cultural programs that represent each country, including Nobel Prize-winning works.

Visitors attend previous editions of the Seoul Plaza Night Library this summer. (Seoul Metropolitan Library)

The Spain edition of the event will take place over two days, on Friday and Saturday. Friday will feature a Spanish art storytelling lecture and a flamenco performance. If you wear red attire to match the flamenco show and share a post on social media, you will receive a flower hairpin as a special treat. On Saturday, the gala show "Man of La Mancha" will enchant the audience with its dramatic performances based on the novel, “Don Quixote.”

Brazil takes over on Sunday. A samba performance by a jazz band and a capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art dance) performance will highlight the country’s vibrant culture.

Looking ahead to next week's events, the France edition will be held Aug. 25-26, featuring a chanson performance, a talk that explores French literature and classics, and a marionette show of "The Little Prince.” On Aug. 27, the UK edition will wrap up the Night Library series with a milk tea tasting program and a Brit-pop DJ performance.

Seoul Art Center Festa in 2022 (SAC)

Experience the SAC's outdoor charms

This weekend, a variety of outdoor events will be held in the outdoor spaces of the Seoul Arts Center. With the participation of art organizations that make SAC their home, such as the National Contemporary Dance Company, National Ballet Company, National Symphony Orchestra, National Opera Company, National Chorus and Seoul Arts Company, the SAC Festa will present a blend of screenings of performance videos, outdoor performances, classical busking, art markets and media art.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, the National Opera Company will present a gala concert featuring numbers from well-known operas such as "Rigoletto" and "The Barber of Seville." The following day, Vere Ensemble, a woodwind quintet, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

A classical busking performance featuring a saxophone solo will be held at 1:30 p.m., followed by a sextet of brass and percussion musicians at 3:30 p.m.

As part of video screenings, the National Ballet Company’s “Don Quixote” will be offered at 4 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday at the same time, the National Chorus’s “Symphony of the Sea” and “Korean Choral Symphony” will be screened followed by the National Contemporary Dance Company’s three works at 7:30 pm.

Seoul Art Center Festa in 2022 (SAC)

In front of a large outdoor screen at Music Plaza, a grassy area and camping chairs are set up, providing a picnic-like experience.

In addition to performances and video screenings, an art market will offer about 20 handcrafted items by talented artists and designers selected by the SAC from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. while food will be available in the Stairs Plaza.

After sunset, media projections onto the facade of the Opera House and the stairs of the Stairs Plaza will show artworks by Shaan, Zipcy, Mystery Play and Deekay.

The festivities will continue past the weekend as part of the 10-day-long SAC Festa.

For the next weekend, guitarist Park Ju-won’s band, bandoneon performer Koh Sang-ji’s trio and jazz vocalist Sunwoo Jung-a will grace the outdoor stage.

In the event of rain, outdoor screenings and performances will be canceled. Admission is free of charge.

Stained glass windows and decorations are on display at Mariposa Stained Glass. (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)

Try your hand at making stained glass crafts

At Mariposa Stained Glass, a stained glass studio located on the backstreet of Haebangchon in Yongsan, central Seoul, colorful pieces of stained glass can be turned into artwork by your own hands.

The first step is to choose the type of craft you wish to create. You can also follow the owner's recommendations, but don’t forget that it’s still your work to select the glass colors that will bring your creation to vivid life.

A wide range of colored glass is available to choose your favorite colors. (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)

With a sketch in mind, trace your design onto a piece of glass. Once your drawing is complete, be ready with a glass cutter and pliers. Now, you're ready to proceed.

Holding the glass cutter vertically, score the glass along the sketched lines. The glass should then carefully crack along these lines with the help of the pliers.

After polishing each piece of glass with a grinder, wrap the glass edges with copper tape for the lead soldering process. Applying what is called flux to the copper tape, you’re ready to begin soldering.

On the top left, the edges of a polished glass piece are wrapped with copper tape. (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)
A student in a one-day class solders stained glass pieces. (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)

Handling the soldering iron -- at around 460 degrees Celsius -- requires careful attention. However, the process is easier than it sounds -- just think of gently spreading the drops of lead as if you were spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread.

After you complete the soldering and add chains for hanging, your one-of-a-kind DIY stained glass masterpiece will take its final shape.

A completed hanging stained glass craft work (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)

Mariposa offers a range of crafting programs from one-day classes to more professional classes, with prices starting at 50,000 won.

Reservations are required. Mariposa is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.