Wednesday, April 4, 2012

OM's Hanji studio ...

During our trip to South Korea we were invited to the home of Myong Sook OM, an outstanding Korean Hanji Artist who studied Fine Arts for 5 years in New York and she's currently a teacher to expats in Korea.
She's held several exhibitions of her work  and is involved in SIWA (Seoul International Women's Association). It was great to be able to sit and talk to her in English about her craft. At her OM's Hanji Studio in Seoul she conducts classes for expats who want to learn the craft and they come from countries all over the world. She's  held several exhibitions of her student's work over the last few years as well. 
"As an instructor, I unreservedly appreciate their(her students) exposed and unexposed efforts in transforming diverse experience and unique artistry into the forms of Korea's traditional Hanji. I also feel profound pride and sense of fulfillment in that their creative activity contributes to the globalization of Hanji craft." Myong Sook's words of introduction to the 2010 Global Hanji Work Exhibition, Seoul, Korea.
On arrival at her small apartment  we immediately recognized that she was a very humble lady who  has a strong desire to help other artists with similar artistic interests. She gave freely of her time and passion to discuss her work with us and made us feel extremely welcome in her home. 
Yellow lamp with water lilies
As she started to bring out her works of art we were struck by the fact that many of her lamps were large, including the Yellow lamp with water lilies (above) that's around 3' tall and the Large brown lamp which is around 4' 6" tall. She's also done a circular black lamp with waterlilies that stood about 4' tall and when the lights were switched on in these lamps the true genius of the placement of the papers was evident to us and we all went oooh!. Amazing work.
Black lamp detail
Detail of a leaf at the bottom of the lamp
Large lamp with water lilies
She works with naturally dyed papers only and uses a special technique of layering the paper to reach the desired effect of  different shades and thicknesses. 
One of her  interests is  designing waterlilies to place onto lamps, cabinets and boxes. I couldn't help  but think that this may have come from the many beautiful waterlily lamps in the Buddhist temples that are scattered all over the country.
She designs all her own cutouts, using her Fine Arts background,  then cuts them  by hand to produce stunning examples of this craft as seen in the small table below.
Small table with white cutouts

She also uses dyed paper to place behind some of the cutouts to give the effects of shading of the different elements.

We were truly honoured to be given this opportunity to meet up with her and to see first hand her amazing  hanji work .

I'm hoping to go back to Korea sometime soon to study with her for a while.


  1. Beautiful Jan! Am sure you had an awesome, memorable trip.

  2. Absolutely amazing and beautiful work! I especially love the water lilies and how she has layered them. I'm just in awe!

  3. So were we. I have plenty more photos to show you when we meet up ...


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