Saturday, February 25, 2012

Magnolias update 1 ......

 Over the last few weeks I've been working on a cutout of magnolias. It's rather a large piece around 30cms by 20 cms and I think at this stage I'll use them for the sides of a box.

I've been taking the cutout piece along to our hanji group each week as I find that I need to be doing something that I can stop at anytime if the ladies have questions about their work.  They're generally quite confident  but there's always that new project that we may need to talk about or  the need for a spare pair of hands to hold things together whilst the glue dries.

Most of us in the group have  been meeting for nearly 2 years now and together we've produced some great items. Mainly lamps but small boxes of different shapes and sizes as well. Working in a group helps us all to bounce ideas off one another and to share a common interest whilst enjoying one another's company.

I've printed off a spare copy of the magnolias cutouts and I've now shaded in the colours I'd like.  This gives me an idea of what the overall look of the cutout will be and also shows  where I'll need to place the coloured paper.

This will be the template for colouring the cutout.  For the Magnolias I'll place white paper behind the cutout pieces and then, as I want the pinks to be subtly shaded, use coloured pencils to give the desired effect.  I'll do something similar for the leaves by placing a light green behind the leaves and then shade them in with a darker green coloured pencil. To give some contrast to the pinks and greens I'm putting in a 2 toned blue strip around the centre piece.

This is a bit of an experiment but I'll keep you posted as to how it's going in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Creative processes......

When doing a project it's always a very creative process when you come to choosing the  types and colours of the papers you want to use and then the patterns or designs that will embellish it.

It's interesting being in a Hanji group and seeing how the same project can look so different when completed by different 'Hanji artists'. I use this term 'Hanji artist' because we are all creating our pieces dependant on our own creative experiences and each person  uses different colours and design based on those experiences.

I find that my work tends to have an Asian influence  after spending more than a decade living and working in both South East Asia and the Far east. I was taught by a Korean lady who was very traditional in her methods of doing this craft. She would never use masking tape for the joints but instead we had to cut small strips of white paper and place them over the joints to smooth them out.  We couldn't use wallpaper paste to put the paper on so  we had to use flour and water paste, which only lasted a day or so before it started to smell. She was a purist and took her craft very seriously and although at times the work could have been done more quickly using other methods  I greatly admired her and am glad I had the opportunity to learn the 'hard' way first.

Some in my group have more western backgrounds and they express themselves using more modern, bright and bold colours.  They enjoy being creative and putting  their special touch to the hanji pieces. Others are hesitant to choose either plain colours or paper printed with designs in case they make a wrong decision and they regret it later. We are all different but in the end it doesn't matter what our processes or backgrounds are as long as we are creating and enjoying what we're doing.

I have several books of patterns and a folder that contains photocopies of designs I use often. I'm always searching for more ideas and I stash them away for that special piece of hanji I'm going to do very soon.

Here is what I created this week. This fish design is used a lot in hanji but  I hadn't used it  before so I cut it out and placed it directly over some printed paper. 

Fish design

Design on the lid

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hanji happenings in RAK....

Monica and Suzy making lamps
Here are a few photos of our Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Hanji group.  We've been meeting for nearly 2 years now and many items have been made from small boxes to 6 sided lamps. When I started the group I wanted everyone to learn the basics first and to start off making a box but no, they wanted to jump in at the deep end and make a lamp.  The first project took some people quite a long time to achieve but them have come on in leaps and bounds and are now reasonabley confident in tackling most anything. We've been fortunate enough to meet and enrol the help of Kym, a Korean lady who has helped us with ordering paper and kits in the past. With our upcoming trip to Seoul we'll now be able to order some things ourselves and get them sent back her to RAK for future projects. Well done ladies !!!

Hard at work

Cutouts and boxes

Juliet hard at work on her small pot

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More challenges ....

This week I've been working on getting my Hanji area a little better organised and also on another lamp.

I'd seen a lot of this design in Insadong but I wanted to tackle doing one myself.  It looks simple being only 4 sided but the difficult part is getting the curved shape and holding the whole thing together whilst the glue dries. I needed an extra pair of hands for this task so Ron came to the rescue!!!    I did try super glue but I found it didn't stick so well because there's actually  a very small  area of contactable surface. It took several evenings of gluing and then waiting until the next day to do another section before I could move on.

I'm  happy with the results for my first effort and I learnt a lot and therfore I will do things a little differently next time I make one.

Another challenge was how to make it so that the light bulb can be changed.  Normally in the lamps the openings in the top are large enough to be able to put your hand in and change the bulb.  This one has a relatively small opening and it needed a support top and bottom to hold the side together so this limited the space even more.  I had a discussion about it in our Hanji group and Suzy came up with the idea of putting a small lip around the base for the lamp to sit into.  (I find it helpful to have our get togethers because not only can I pass on what I know but also I am learning from then).  I would normally have glued the base to the lamp but in this case the lamp can be removed so you can get into it to change the light bulb.

Our  Hanji Tour to Korea in only six weeks time will be extremely useful to be able to see first hand exactly how the experts make them and what are the tips and tricks of assembling.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hanji hardware ......

I've finished my jewelry box !! 
One of my hardware boxes
In this post I want to mention the fact that to complete many  projects you need some hardware. I have quite a collection of miniature hinges, clasps, handles, knobs and miniature screws from 6mm to around 10mm..  These have been collected over the years but I haven't had much luck in getting the right type of hardware to complement my projects anywhere but in Korea itself.  They can be ordered online but it's always best to see what you're going to get and sometimes I've misordered but I always figure that I can use it for another project.
For the jewelry box I've added some hinges and a clasp at the front then finished it off with metal corners on the lid which give it a more solid look.  Not that it isn't solid enough but I think it complements the cutouts.

One of the things to remember when using the hardware is that you need at least 2, 3mm pieces of cardboard to screw them into.  If you want to put something on and you've only used one 3mm piece of cardboard then you'll need to add a small piece of cardboard to the inside so the screw don't come through.
Metal corners

Some of my clasps are for boxes and some are for small cabinets.

Clasps for a small cabinet

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...