Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hanji picture set ....

I've finally finished my Hanji picture set. There are three pictures and each one features a different cutout that is a hanji design. 

No paper wastage  !!






You need to do a series of cutouts on the same piece of paper and you'll end up with the template for your pictures  plus a lot of cutout designs that you can use for your projects.  

From there you have a variety of different options of how to personalise the templates.  I've chosen three different styles, one using different colours set in a pattern and another where they were placed at random and thirdly using a single colour.

This was a fun project and one you could try for yourselves !!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hanji pictures ....



A different idea of how to use Hanji paper. Cut  shapes out of black paper and place coloured hanji paper underneath, then frame them. I'm in the process of making a set of three.  One is framed and the others are currently being designed, a fun project.

A great personal gift for someone.

Hanji art ready to be mounted and framed

Framed hanji picture

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Anna's Aquarium pot .......

My students have been working for a few weeks now on making an Umbrella Stand or 'large storage pot', and it's been an exciting process as they've constructed the pot from scratch and then they've  had a larger 'canvas' on which to explore and use the Hanji paper. 

I have 3 'large pots'.  Living in a desert country I've little use for an Umbrella stand because it rarely rains here but, they're great for storing some of my special papers all rolled up, within visible sight  and ready to be used.

The students followed patterns and cut out the cardboard and constructed the pots.  That was the straightforward part and everyone's looked the same up to this stage. Next the ideas for what to put on them were determined, then they were changed then changed again.  It's all a part of the creative processes.

I've had students say they couldn't sleep because they've had so many ideas going around in their minds and many people have said to me that they're not creative at all but they've been surprised at themselves when they've started making things and  been able to materialise their ideas through Hanji.

One of my students Anna, started with some paper she'd bought in turquoise hues.  The more she looked at it the more it looked like water and so the creative Hanji journey began.  She wanted colour, movement, an underwater scene, grasses, fish and water.  Ideas were tossed around, cutouts were made and after many weeks it all started to come together.

Take a look, it's a unique piece of Hanji art that started out as cardboard and paper and finished up as her very own creation.  Well done Anna.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Psaligraphy by Karen Bit Vejle ............

Karen Bit Vejle or Bit, as she's commonly referred to, is Danish and she's a paper cutter who explores the world of psaligraphy. It all sounds very simple doesn't it but her pieces are intricately magnificent and her works have been exhibited all over the world.  

As Bit says, 

'If my art can make you stop
and wonder for just one instant,
I think that would be wonderful'.

Psaligraphy is a very slow art that is achieved with paper and a small pair of scissors.  It's a precise art where even the smallest of mistakes can  be disastrous and it's also a fine art that is linked to the past, even right back in the 1st Century when the Chinese invented paper and started cutting it before they used it for writing.

The art of paper cutting is especially popular in Asia and one of the areas known to me is in Korean Hanji. In Hanji we use a small knife rather than scissors and trace over patterns but, as far as I'm aware, with psaligraphy it's more of a freehand action.

It's also popular in Bit's native Denmark. In Denmark the paper cutting art has evolved from the old tradition of Gaekkebrev—a letter sent around Easter to a person one is in love with which included a paper cutting with a verse. This custom was also practiced in Germany and Norway in the 1600s.

The Danish poet and storyteller Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was the best known paper cutter in Scandinavia of his time. He loved to tell a new story while cutting the paper and he would finish both at the same time. The unfolded content of the paper would then be revealed to the spellbound audience.

Brit doesn't necessarily follow tradition though. She's developed her own unique paper cutting style and is now in high demand by museums and top end companies such as Hermes, Georg Jenson and the Hilton Hotels to provide displays for their spaces and products. 

Thamks Ulla, from Copenhagen, for making me aware of this lady and her wonderful work.  I'm in awe.  Check out her website.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty ... ...


I'm currently reading a book by Bae Yong Joon, called, 'A Journey in Search of Korea's Beauty'.

Bae Yong Joon is not what you'd call your typical writer. He's  one of East Asia's foremost actors and an ardent supporter of intercultural communication and exchange.  Bae Yong Joon sees staying in touch with Korea's past as important for the future of humanity, and this book is a creative and heartwarming record of the insights he's gained through taking that journey.

I'm finding it quite absorbing as this famous, seasoned traveller  takes a journey through his own country, making an effort to take particular notice of the traditions, people, and the beauty of Korea.

Reading the book has made me think that so often, I don't appreciate what I grew up with and even what's around me today.  It's so easy to take everything for granted, focusing on our goals, instead of the journey that carries us there.

One of the reasons for my fascination with Korea is it's traditions, and in particular, the art of making Hanji paper and of doing Hanji crafts.

In one section of the book Bae Yong Joon  looks into the traditional craft of Hanji making. He visited Jangjibang, the biggest paper mill in Korea at Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do Province, where he met with Jang the owner.

I visited Jang's shop in Insadong last year and was amazed at the wonderful papers his store had to offer.  The walls were covered with Hanji that looked like marble and the shelves were full of amazingly natural looking textures and shades. You could see and feel the artistry that went into each and every piece.

Bae was amazed at the processes that go into making Hanji  paper by using the old methods. He comments on how old the equipment looked and how difficult the conditions were for the workers. Apparently there's a Korean saying, 'I'd rather eat sand than see my son become a paper maker.'

Traditional paper making is  strenuous and difficult and not many young people want to take up this profession today but, things are slowly changing and hand made paper is becoming more popular. It's often talked about as a work of 'sophisticated design'.  There's still a long way to go because of the cheaper cost and ease of mechanical paper production but, the trend is looking promising for the industry.

I recommend that you check out his book.  It's well written, has some great photos and gives you a good insight into some of the Korean traditions .....  he's not bad looking either !

Monday, May 6, 2013

Symbolism and meanings ...........

I've just spent all my 'spare' time over the last week trying out different types of paper and card in my new cutting machine. Some things have gone well and others haven't been as successful but, overall I'm really pleased  with the options it now gives me for new designs for classes and expanding with my Hanji business.

It cuts the thicker black paper really well but with the thinner papers you need to be much more careful about your choice of designs annd the speed at which you cut.

I'm currently scanning all my designs into the computer to have them available for future projects. I must admit that I've been a bit slow at this as I like to take time looking at all the wonderful designs and working out what each of them means and a possible project I could use it for.  

There is so much symbolism in every design and what looks to me like a nice picture or interesting border usually has so many levels of hidden meaning.
I'm currently working on writing a book  on Hanji, in English, with  a short history of the craft and including a section on Korean symbols and their meanings as well as some easy patterns to get you started. It's a project I've wanted to do for a while but time has been limited. It's a new challenge that I'm really looking forward to.