What inspires us to make certain Hanji pieces? For me it's often a dormant idea in my mind and it comes out years later when certain factors all come together.
I took this photo many years ago at Haeinsa Temple just outside Busan. I'm not Buddhist but when we lived in Busan I use to love going up to this hugely impressive Buddhist temple because of the serenity of the surrounding hillside and the beautiful gardens. I could sit there for hours and just take in the views, peace and tranquility of the space. The biggest downside for me was that I wasn't always that fit and the Buddhist temples are usually set high up in the mountainside and require a lot of uphill climbing before you get to see the temple and the wonderful views.
In this photo I was looking back down the long, winding path I'd just climbed and it was lined with a low wall that has the typical upturned Korean roof tiles on top and tall bamboo mixed in with the other leafy green trees.
I've always loved this photo because it not only reminds me of that wonderful place but also I see textures in it that incorporate typical Korean lines and yet they flow and they are softened by the bamboo and other leafy trees.
It never occurred to me when this photo was taken that I'd ever use it as an inspiration for a hanji piece but years later it's played a part in a my creative puzzle.
During my recent trip to Seoul I found this amazing Hanji paper that looks like leather. I've never seen any Hanji paper like it before and I felt so excited to be able to purchase a few sheets of this paper that is so unique. I then needed to decide what I was going to do with it and as often happens, ideas just evolved.
I wanted to combine organic textures, natural products , Korean shapes and bamboo. I used 3 layers of 3mm thick cardboard and glued them together then I turned up the edges to give it the Korean roof shape.
I then placed 2 thinner cardboard strips of 2 layers of cardboard underneath to make them into a stand for the tray. I covered the top of the tray with the textured paper, the ends with a mustard Korean linen to give the handles a good grip and the base in black.
I finished it off with a bamboo cutout and lacquered so there you have it, a unique Hanji tray inspired by nature, bamboo, textures and a photograph.