Korea claims a unique and intriguing art called joomchi.

How do you go about making joomchi?  It’s easier to try with your own hands than to explain in words…but here it goes.  This is my beginner’s understanding of the process: At least 2 layers of Korean mulberry paper, or hanji, are first wet, then, aggressively gripped, grabbed, stretched, and manipulated until the fibers are broken down and almost “felted” to your liking.  Hours of aggravating the paper are expended, while possibly years of angst is relieved.  A major transformation occurs; once flat sheets of paper become a very organic, leather-like, almost living form.

No adhesives are used, however, natural dyes, pigments, other papers, fibers, and cloth can be “collaged” in to create a very special mixed media paper art.

We learned that Japanese mulberry paper (kozo) works fine for making joomchi, as our colleague Barbara Green tested it.  She used Paper Connection’s senkashi (a heavy weight un-dyed kozo paper, traditionally used for clothing) and some vintage, pigmented kozo.

I finally made it to the nearby Atrium Gallery in Providence to see one of their latest shows:  Joomchi and Beyond, curated by Ms. Jiyoung Chung.  I blogged briefly about Ms. Chung and her exhibit at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, last June, 2011.   Subsequently, I was lucky enough to attend her workshop early spring 2012.  Many of the works shown at the Atrium are part of Ms. Chung’s fantastic book also entitled Joomchi and Beyond.

Please see Jiyoung’s book for photos of her method and process. She is a great teacher.   For more photos of the show, click here.

Another artist who works with hanji and creates joomchi is Aimee Lee.

I am this wall, 2009, by Aimee Lee

It is truly amazing when you think that no adhesives are used, and all the papers are transformed by hand technique alone.

I love this use of natural persimmon juice by Aimee:

The squirrels arrived first, 2012, Aimee Lee, natural persimmon dye, hanji, paper yarn

Ms. Lee is just out with her new book  Hanji Unfurled, which details her research and works on hanji.

Can’t wait to meet her in 2 weeks at the Morgan!

Aimee is also planning a book signing tour in New England in November, thus I’m hoping she will come to Providence and Paper Connection, of course!

Who’s in for meeting Aimee Lee and talking paper?!?!

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