Korean Paper Workshop

[This is the second installment in a three-part series on Korean book and paper workshops, funded in part by the CLS Alumni Development Fund.]

The possibilities of hanji are seemingly endless. I was super excited to give a presentation and workshop all about hanji to a group of about 12 students at the Materials Lab at UT Austin in February. The Materials Lab, part of the School of Architecture, is an amazing resource that contains a huge circulating library of over 28,000 material samples. I’m super excited that some hanji samples were added to the library after the workshop!

After a brief presentation about hanji (its history, characteristics, applications, and how it is made), we began the hands-on portion of the workshop. Altogether the event was only 2.5 hours, so this was very much a whirlwind introduction to hanji. I showed them some samples of hanji used to make paper cord, along with examples of shifu (Japanese for woven paper cloth) and joomchi (felted hanji). I showed them how to twine two cords together through a technique called jiseung, and then gave students time to try it out.

paper cord.jpg
Strips of hanji twisted to make two-ply cord

Afterwards, I demonstrated how to make paper thread by cutting paper into strips and then rolling it onto a textured surface like a cinder block. Thankfully we had access to all kinds of textured surfaces, as we were situated right inside the Materials Lab!

yung ju shifu

We ended the workshop by felting and fusing hanji using the joomchi technique. Students each got 4 sheets of colored hanji and used water, brushes, and their hands to create unique pieces. Since time was limited, many students took their hanji home and hopefully continued to work on their pieces. Here are some works in progress:

While in Austin, I stayed in the beautiful home of  my friend Yung-ju. We dried hanji and brushes on the back porch:

Though we did not actually make any paper during the workshop, students learned a lot about hanji as a material with all kinds of potential applications — not just in art, but in architecture, design, craft, lighting, and so forth. Very grateful to share about hanji as a versatile material with enthusiastic students at UT Austin!

Next up: making hanji in California!


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