Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hanji classes are up and running........

The beginner's Hanji classes are now up and running and the enthusiastic students are progressing really well. 

They're just about to finish their first project, the utensil holder, with each choosing different coloured papers to complement their small pot. 

This week it'll be time to do the small cutout to place on the pot then I'm looking forward to seeing the finished articles. 

The 'forgiving fairy' is definitely with them all !!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hanji Photographic Collection 2012 ....

Well I've almost completed my 'Photographic collection' of boxes, they're all ready to be varnished.

I've combined my love of photography with my love of Hanji and come up with something that I think is pretty unique. 

For this first collection I've made all the boxes the same size but  they could be made in any size and that would open up all sorts of possibilities for doing Hanji in the future.

You could make memory boxes for people you love and present them as a gift, you could make gifts to give away at weddings with the couples picture on them or you could just use your favourite travel photographs placed on a box to remind you of a special trip.

I've done one set in sepia, because personally I love the effect of the muted tones as it gives a timeless, classic look and the second set is done in colour with the photos complemented with matching coloured papers. All of the photographs were taken during my stay in Korea.

The photos were printed onto a special handmade paper and then used during the making of the boxes, just as any other Hanji paper. 

 I hope you like the new collection .........

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hanji Starter Kits .....

This week I started a new beginner's Hanji  class here in the UAE and to help the new students get started on their journey with the craft I've put together some Starter kits.  We more than likely have different items around the house that have been used for other crafts and activities but often some are half used, others worn out and yet others not quite suitable.

I don't know about you but if I'm starting something new I like to begin things afresh with the right tools to do the job.

Here in Ras Al Khaimah, a town 90 kms north of Dubai, most items needed to do hanji are available somewhere but sometimes they're in a small and dusty shop down a side street and at other times at a large and overwhelming 'Library,' as the stationary stores are called here. In other words it can take a bit of hunting to find exactly what you want.

With the temperatures in the low 40Cs every day here at the moment, chasing around from to store to store isn't the nicest thing to be doing when you could be sitting inside in the air conditioning working on a project, walking the air conditioned malls or going for a swim.  So, in the cooler months, I bought things in bulk when I saw them and put  together some Hanji Starter Kits for my students.

The Starter Kits consist of:
  •  a small cutting mat
  • 30 cm metal ruler
  • 15 cm metal ruler
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • small scissors
  • craft knife
  • contact adhesive glue
  • a roll of thin masking tape
These items are only the basic tools that you would use and it doesn't include the cardboard or papers which I provide but, it can be added to as time goes on ........

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beginner's classes starting soon ........

Three years ago I started meeting with a small group of friends who wanted to learn how to do 'hanji'.  We started from the basics but they very soon progressed into making more complex items.  Through all this they've taught me such a lot about design,  adaption of materials and perseverance in ordering  both locally and from overseas. It's been difficult at times but we've worked through things together and achieved such a lot. 

I've made some great friends over the years as some people have stayed with the group, meeting nearly every week for the whole time and others have come and gone. That is the way of the ex-pat life.

I'm now really looking forward to meeting a new group of women in our beginner's class starting next week.  We'll start from the basics of hanji making and work through some different techniques for the next six weeks.  They will complete 3 different projects and develop the skills to move on to a more advanced class that I have planned for later in the year. 

These pictures are some of my photographs that I'm incorporating into my hanji pieces in my 'photographic collection'.  I will show you more soon........

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

’Hanji’ art produces a picture without paint or brush

“Dandelion” by Cho Su-jung

This article in the Korea Times newspaper was written by Chung Ah-young and it shows the work of Hanji Artist  Cho Su-jung ..    Her work is in two dimensional Hanji and it's so vibrant and beautifully detailed. For those of you who have been working with hanji paper I'm sure you could appreciate the time it must take for to make each piece. 

It might be hard to imagine but “hanji” (traditional Korean mulberry paper) can turn into a wonderful picture without using a brush and paint. The hanji paper art shows how a deft touch can be more delicate than any other tools.

The artworks are produced by tearing up a variety of colorful hanji and pasting them together. The paper is torn onto layers to express light and shadow, to imbue color and shape.

Cho Su-jung, a traditional paper artist, believes that hanji artworks can portray anything she wants from abstract to still-life paintings that require sophisticated and delicate paper tearing techniques.

“I can make the works resemble watercolors or oil paintings simply using hanji pieces of a variety of colors and thickness. I can freely use the colorful hanji like the paints to express what I want,” Cho said in an interview with The Korea Times.

Cho, who started the traditional paper art some 30 years ago, recently opened the Cho Su-jung Korean Paper Art Gallery to showcase her artworks in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul. She is the first artist to create a picture with the hanji tearing techniques in Korea.

“Over the last 30 years, my art has been underestimated because the art circle sees my art as a kind of mosaic rather than a picture. But actually my work is a perfect picture without using brushes and pigments,” she said.
Although Cho began her artistic career in Japan where traditional paper art is more advanced, traditional Korean paper has a higher quality to depict something on the canvas, she said.

Hanji is made from the bark of a mulberry tree. Its texture is fine and smooth and the long fibers create a fluffy effect while the tearing part produces attractive feathered edges on pieces of paper.

“The key point of tearing hanji involves carefully pulling the paper apart, leaving the paper fibers at the edge of the paper exposed to maintain a natural look. The torn edges complement many styles and designs more than any other papers in the world,” she said.

Although artworks created by paper tearing have a long tradition in China and Japan, it can also be found in Korean aesthetics much earlier. Koreans attached the leaves of a chrysanthemum or bamboo trees attractively on screen papers of the lattices. The simple motif has been handed down to the present, she said.

“When I was in Japan in the 1980s, Korean culture was not appreciated well even though we have a long history and rich heritage. So I wanted to promote the beauty of Korean traditional culture through the artworks,” she said.

Compared to the conventional paintings, hanji artworks are eco-friendly as the materials come from nature. “So they never look boring and last long. The art has more irresistible charms,” she said.

An awl, glue, deft finger movements and aesthetic tastes can produce wonderful pictures, she said. Anything can be expressed through hanji according to the degree of thickness of the paper.

From flying spores of dandelions to abstract brush strokes, she has depicted any object of her imagination into her works. Cho has produced some 150 works over the last 30 years. Some works take a couple of hours but others require a month or so to complete. But the whole process is part of her spiritual training for aesthetic achievement.

“While concentrating on my works, I forget all anxieties. When I am free from such distracting thoughts and greed, I can create the best works. The art purifies me in many ways,” she said.

“Hanji pictures do not change with time. They produce their own pictorial sense from the tearing, fitting and attaching together with bits of variously colored hanji, so they create a unique world of paintings which can hardly be expressed with Western papers in its tactile sensation,” she said.

“I think this is a kind of national project as it represents the beauty of traditional papers. I am very proud of being a traditional paper artist. Without such pride, I couldn’t have done this job for so long,” she said.

Cho has also nurtured some 500 pupils who are mostly housewives as the art is easy to learn for amateur artists.

She also harbors a wish to promote the art through her gallery and overseas exhibitions. Cho held an exhibition in Washington in the United States last year and received positive responses from Americans.

“When I show my artworks to foreigners, their reactions are more fervent than Koreans. They are amazed at the hanji artworks. So I will expose them to more foreigners through hanji picture making classes and exhibitions.”

The gallery is open to anyone who is interested in learning about hanji artworks. Particularly, foreigners are welcomed, Cho said.
At the gallery, visitors can enjoy the artworks, learn the art and drink traditional teas.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hanji Ladies Dinner .....UAE

Last night the Hanji ladies enjoyed a pleasant evening of eating Chinese food, chatting about our summer break and discussing our Hanji  happenings in the months to come.

I'll be starting a new 6 week beginner's class which I'm very excited about and Tricia, Monica, Barbara and Suzy will  meet up and continue on with their projects. Later in the year I plan on having an advanced class so students can build on the skills they've learnt in the beginner's classes.

If you live in the UAE and want more information on the classes check out my website

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...