Sunday, June 19, 2011

Custom guitar pedals

I just came across this amazing website where an enterprising musician is using Hanji paper to make custom guitar pedals.

Check it out !!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sorting papers

The last few days when I've had some free time I've been sorting my papers with a little help from Pushkin my very inquisitive cat. All the sheets that arrived last week needed to be folded and put away ready for when I return from summer leave and classes begin again.
I'm delighted that I now have 110 different colours and shades of plain paper which can be used in conjunction with the patterened papers that I've collected over the years.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Using the same paper on two different boxes....

 I've given instructions on how to make a box. These can be any shape or size but the more creative side of it comes as you choose the colours, styles and cutouts to go on them.

 Here we have the same paper used on two different box shapes creating a totally different look. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Great excitement !!!

Yesterday we had a delivery of Hanji kits, paper and accessories from Korea. The ladies in my Hanji group put in an order to a couple of websites in Korea as it's so difficult to find anything like it here.
After a lot of translation of the website and phone calls to Korea, Kim our wonderful Korean assisstant, managed to finalise the order 6 days ago and the parcel arrived 5 days later.  That's not bad I'd say. Now it's distribution time !!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Making a Hanji Box

One of the easiest items to start making is a square box.

This is done by cutting out the sides of the box and lid  in 3mm thick cardboard.
(You need a thick cardboard to give it the strength) 


You then glue the sides together with contact adhesive.


Next you cover the joints with masking tape. 
(The true traditional way is to cover the cardboard with white hanji paper). 

Cut out the Hanji paper of your choice to cover each segment of the box. (Cut paper about 1cm larger so that it overlaps)

Make sure all pieces fit the box.

Paper the box using wallpaper paste

Cut 1cm wide strips of paper to cover all joints.

Cover Hanji Box with a few layers of matt or gloss varnish or you can use 50/50 white glue to water. 


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival

A cupboard - one of the larger items on show
The best place to see the wide range of uses for Hanji is at the Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival in Jeonju Provence, in Korea.

Here you will see cupboards covered with intricately designed hanji cutouts and trimmed with brass fittings. You'll also see boxes in different shapes and colours, tables and lamps all painstakingly made especially for the exhibition.

These are all judged according to the quality of workmanship and based on Korean traditional standards. 
A table with intricate cutouts in paper on the top
There are different categories in the Festival - modern, traditional and cultural products and it's quite an honour for a Korean hanji Artist to win one or more of these categories.
 An interesting shape but note the formed section inside the box
Check out the butterflies on the lid. These are cut out of cardboard and
glued on before putting the paper onto the lid frame.
Intricate cutouts on the glass & lid

One of the more popular items are the lamps which are painstakingly made with new shapes and designs coming out each year. The lamp exudes a soft light with the glass covered with a light coloured paper.

If you're in Korea, and you get an opportunity to visit the festival, which is usually held around May/June, it's worthwhile going to. It'll help you understand the importance of hanji in their society ........... it's so much a part of their cultural heritage.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Korean paper - Hanji

Korean paper or hanji is the traditional name for Korean mulberry paper. It's made from the inner bark of the Paper Mulberry tree, called chomok which is native to Korea. Another important element in the paper making process is the oozy mucilage that comes from the roots of the Hibiscus, manihot plant.  This is added to the water and helps suspend the fibres.

Paper making originated in China and spread to Korea during the 6th Century.  (Japan uses a similar technique but it differs in the sheet formation technique). The papers are strong and versatile and can reportedly last over 1,000 years !!!!  Layers of hanji were used for armour and could stop arrows whilst four Korean books made from hanji and documented with it's history have been designated by UNESCO as 'Memory of the World Heritage'.
Sifting fibres and draining water onto racks

Wet sheets of hanji ready for drying

Drying hanji sheets on hot panels
Hanji has had many uses from making and covering books to covering windows and keeping their homes warm whilst at the same time letting the sunlight through.

During a visit to the Andong Poongsan Traditional Paper Making factory in 2002 I found this description of Korean paper:

1.  It absorbs dust and smells
2.  It has effect purifying and cleaning the air
3.  It protects your skin by intercepting harmful    
     ultraviolet rays
4.  The light penetrated through Korean paper  
     is soft to the eyes
5.  It has excellent absorption and emanation 
6.  It helps nature environment to be purified
7.  It isn't changed even after thousand years
8.  It makes strong and patient nature to be mild
9.  It makes you feel warm in winter and cool in  
10. It give you soft and quiet mood according to mix of dye to natural ingredients

You can check out their website at It's all in Korean but you may want to navigate your way around to see the paper products they produce.

Unfortunately this is one of only a few  factories using the traditional paper making methods.  Like everything, technology is taking over and we all want things made more quickly so the majority of papers are made in automated factories and reportedly the finished papers are not of the same quality.

This is an overview of hanji where it's come from and how it can be used.  In future postings we'll look more closely at the way this paper can be used to make a wide variety of strong and durable goods.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A set of drawers
I've developed this site due to a growing number of people wanting to learn more about this Korean craft. Since beginning to learn in Korea I've shown my work and have inspired people from New York to Australia to Malaysia and now I'm running classes in the Middle East ........

Over the coming postings I hope to give you some information on what Hanji is all about, the history of the craft in Korea and how it can be used in today's globalised world.

I'll also be posting some basic techniques for you to make some things of your own and I've been developing some new ideas so I'll be sharing them with you on this blog as well as.  I hope you enjoy the journey.........

It's been a while but I just have to share this ...... Bali paper making

Whilst on a holiday in Bali last week I began to wonder if anyone there did paper making.   After a lot of research I came u...