Archives for posts with tag: hanji

Without a doubt Koreans are passionate about their kimchi and have successfully shown the rest of the world what they’re boasting about. After attending a hanji-Korean paper- symposium entitled ” A Thousand Years Old Hanji, Meets the World” , I have no doubt hanji too will soon be rolling off everyone’s tongue! Korean kimchihanji symposium, ksdf, Korean Craft and Design Foundation

Hanji is one of the finest papers in the world and certainly has many die-hard fans.  It is, however, still less known in the global market compared to other Asian papers, i.e. Japanese (washi), Thai, or even Indian cotton papers.

 

SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF TRADITIONAL HANJI?

webal -style sheet formation, no top locking screen, side to side dip, each sheet is double-couched in 2 opposite vertical directions, log rolled over couched sheet to elimate air bubbles and possibly helping release pulp from bamboo screen, and dochim: burnishing or hammering process which flattens, increases the density of paper.

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Most of the attendees from foreign countries were book and paper conservators from places like the Tate Gallery in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and several other world-renowned institutions. In fact, the focus of the conference was the case for hanji to be used in repair and conservation.  Once the special features of traditionally-made hanji were established over a few days, the conservators could better speculate in what particular repair applications hanji would be the right fit.  The visit to observe actual papermaking, was one step towards understanding the material at hand and how it may behave with other materials.  It was a rare occasion for conservators and papermakers to be sharing each others’ daily jobs, but quite key for mutual of understanding between users and makers.

For me, this emphasized the need for paper vendors like Paper Connection,  as we are really “interpreters” of so many hundreds of paper needs and applications.  At Paper Connection we feel it is our role to chronically disseminate and convey information into a paper vocabulary which the maker or manufacturer can relate to.

Thanks to the prestigous members of the group, we had the privilege of being invited to a special viewing of the archives of Chonbuk National University, (one of the largest collection of antiquities in Korea); what incredible facilities.

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Two of my favorite book authors were part of my group:  Ms. Aimee Lee and Mr. Nick Basbanes.

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As you can imagine, the uses for hanji are endless, also true for almost any other well-made paper.

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Of course, Paper Connection is honored to carry hanji, both in an array of wonderful colors and neutral tones. Our hanji line is becoming quite popular, and now available here.  In 2015, we will be stocking a thicker (96 gsm) hanji for printmaking or for backing, and a new thinner paper for basket cording.  Check back here often!

We were very lucky guests of the mayor of Jeonju, 20141218_115712where we were treated to feasts and traditional pansori music performance.  Jeonju is considered the home of hanji and famous for the old-style architecture maintained in Hanok VillageIMG_9274of course, bibimbap, (rice bowl with meat), and the best pansori singer in the land.SAMSUNG CSC

Many thanks again to The Korea Culture & Design Foundation for inviting me to the symposium.  It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about hanji and its culture, its  applications in conservation, and Korea, of course.  A very special thanks to Ms. Bo Kyung Kim of Fides International and hanji artist Ms. Aimee Lee.

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Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

What is “mokuhanga“?

The Japanese woodblock print or mokuhanga, is a precise, multi-step printmaking technique, using water-based pigments applied with brushes, not rollers.  The latter may give you some of idea of how mokuhanga differs from the western woodcut print.  The paper (usually washi) is moistened, laid on block and a baren is used to rub back side of paper.

This multiple-colored block print form became popular during the Edo period (1603-1867).  Many of the old techniques are still followed. What has mostly changed is the growing awareness and broad spectrum of artists who are adopting their individual styles and at the same time, spreading the word about the unique process of mokuhanga.

baren, mokuhanga, printmaking

Barens and Brushes

Special veneer woodblocks

Special veneer woodblocks

 At the beginning  of my career involving Japanese arts and crafts, I was privileged to curate a collection of “ukiyo-e” prints.  The term ukiyo-e translates as Images of the Floating World.  The masters of ukiyo-e laid down the base and framework for contemporary woodblock prints.

Here HOKUSAI’s  The Great Wave off Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty–Six Views of Mount Fuji) is shown printed on various washi with sizing and without;  a research chart presented by Awagami Factory at Tokyo University for the Arts using Japanese paper from different parts of Japan and different sizing recipes.  I thought this was a brilliant depiction of how different papers  yield different results for the same print.

Hokusai, wave, ukiyo-e,taganoura

Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa

KUNIYOSHI’s prints of anthropomorphized animals, show just how colorful and how may colors applied in these mokuhanga from 150 or years ago.
Kuniyoshi, animals

Kuniyoshi’s One Hundred Horrible Stories

I learned a few important facts about mokuhanga, even in just preparing for our booth for the 2nd International Mokuhanga Conference,  (now the 2nd one), hosted by Tokyo University for the Arts, September 10-14, 2014.
Paper Connection, mokuhanga, washi, printmaking

Our booth

I learned what type of paper is in demand in the West, where mokuhanga seems to be more popular than it is in Japan and that the papers used primarily by artists in the West are much thicker than what the ukiyo-e artists used.  Paper Connection created this special swatch portfolio just for the conference.  We included 11 different papers, with a few surprise papers made from alternative fibers, and with unusual sizing.

mokuhanga papers, sized kouzo, kozo,

Paper Connection’s Mokuhanga Swatch Portfolio

What a joy it was to meet so many talented printmakers from all over the globe and learn from them directly; discussing their criteria for papers for their artwork.  Saw some old friends like Larry Pinto, Marjorie Tomchuk, Michael Durgin and met some lovely new friends like Mia O, Carla Salem, and Claire Cuccio.

 

As within any discipline of art, the desired paper and its use, is as unique as the individual using it.  From the paper seller’s view,  Paper Connection welcomes any and all queries, as this only helps us become better at what we do.

In addition to the IMC ‘s mission; to reinstate the integrity of mokuhanga; in effect, bring it back to the limelight, MI-LAB Art Residency Program forged by Ms. Keiko Kadota has provided a place for artists from all parts of the world to collaborate and learn about mokuhanga in depth.

I had the pleasure of meeting and also hearing a talk by Elspeth Lamb,  author of Papermaking for Printmakers,  and who is on the Board of Glasgow Print Studio.

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

I strive to incorporate informative material before starting a new creative project, even before buying new papers for Paper Connection.  For example, I learned about Mr. Akira Kurosaki use of hanji: Korean mulberry paper for his prints, thanks to mokuhanga expert April Vollmer’s interesting article on the process in Art In Print:
http://artinprint.org/index.php/articles/article/mokuhanga_international

April Vollmer, mokuhanga, print, woodblock print

April Vollmer’s Guardian Spider

April is currently working on her soon-to-be published book, called the Japanese Woodblock Workshop.

Please peruse through a few of the prints I saw during the conference.  Printmaker, Ms. Yoonmi Nam, who teaches at the University of Kansas, wrote an excellent summary of the conference and posted it in Printeresting.  Click links to read and see her super photos of the art and the artists at the conference.

mokuhanga, shoji miyamoto

mokuhanga

 

mokuhanga, woodblock print, woodcut

Hanji!

Hanji!

You knew we now stock hanji  at Paper Connection; right?  For all those who can’t wait to try this handmade, mulberry paper from Korea, we are happy to provide hanji in a vast array of colors.  We have been inspired and influenced by world renowned hanji artists, such as Ms. Jiyoung Chung , author of the book, Joomchi & Beyond, experts and Ms. Aimee Lee,  author of Hanji Unfurled.  Their passion and expertise has truly educated us in explaining the benefits of this paper to our eager customers.  Strong, handmade hanji can be wonderfully woven, tugged, and transformed into amazing sculptural pieces, from clothing to bowls, to fibrous, organic installations that take a life of their own.

Ms. Aimee Lee teaches hanji sheet formation, and other hanji paper arts. In fact, she is on her way back to Providence, RI to teach a workshop through Brown University’s Watts Program/JCB Library: Charles H. Watts II History and Culture of the Book Program,  this Saturday, April 13th, however, the workshop filled up immediately, there is a waiting list though; for your reference check out  this link .

In conjunction with the April 13, 2013 workshop provided by Ms. Aimee Lee, Paper Connection International‘s warehouse/showroom will be open from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 13.  Since we are not open to the public, this is a great opportunity to obtain conservation-quality, 100% mulberry papers from Korea, or “hanji”.  Paper Connection is located at 166 Doyle Ave., 2nd Floor, Providence, RI (diagonally across from the East Side YMCA).  Parking available on left side of parking lot in front of building.  Call 401.454.1436 for more information.

2012 over!?!  That was amazingly quick. I guess I do spend much of my time on the road and it is clear traveling or rather “not being home” speeds up time!

To switch things up in my dual-life pattern, I spent the fall of 2012 in the East Coast of the US for a change.  First DC, then Cleveland (noted in the previous blog.  Early November started with a bang, with one the best Paper Connection Annual Holiday Warehouse sales ever!  Then, more excitement by mid-November, as my staff and I organized a 4-day visit from a Paper Rock Star guest-Ms. Aimee Lee in Providence, RI.  We had an awesome turn out for Ms. Lee’s hanji talk, demo and new book signing: Hanji Unfurled.  After Ms. Lee’s successful visit to Rhode Island, I got to enjoy a “real” Thanksgiving with relatives, turkey and pies; it had been many years!  Surely a day to recognize all that we have and all that we have in abundance.  November, 2012 was certainly packed full with a cornucopia of accomplishments; I am very thankful, no matter what month it is.

Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012

Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012

Pies Nov. 22, 2012

Pies Nov. 22, 2012

By December, 2012, my suitcase was re-packed, and currently I am back on the other side of the globe. Since I’ll be on the road again shortly; heading to Seoul next week, I thought I would turn to TWO past abundant Novembers.  Reflecting back as time springs forward.

November, 2011: Journeyed north to Tokohu- the Northeast of Japan: For several reasons, this voyage to Tohoku was quite meaningful, especially post the March 11, 2011 disasters. The main goal was to check on my very good friend, who had moved back to the Tohoku area on March 1, 2011, I hadn’t seen her family since 1986.  My friend warned me that all the coastal places we visited in 1986 “ARE GONE”, she wrote days after the tsunami hit. Another reason for going to Tohoku was to get a sense of the general post 3.11 feeling of the Tohoku survivors, where so many mingei-folk arts are/were born. The bonus of this trip was visiting with Mr. Koichi Odanaka at his studio.  It was my privilege to meet Mr. Keisuke Serizawa’s last apprentice.  I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories Mr. Odanaka told of his life with Mr. and Mrs. Serizawa in Tokyo. So it was a gratifying trip- educational and moving at the same time.Odanakas Work

Odanaka’s work is truly irresistible.  Although, it’s not something I stock at this point, I would like to support as many artists as possible in the Tohoku region of Japan.  Let me know if you’re interested in any of his work; I’ll see what I can do!   Here are a few of his stenciled items I purchased: calendar and textiles.

November, 2010: Traveled, by plane, to Toyama-ken for the first time ever.

Fuji from the plane.

Fuji from the plane.

Old Town of Yatsuo

Old Town of Yatsuo

For centuries Toyama was known as the main pharmaceutical producing area of Japan.  Back before plastic bottles with cotton stuffing, all medicines were wrapped with washi. The area was previously known as “Etchu” so the paper from the area is called “Etchu Washi”.

washi bags& wrappers for medicines

washi bags & wrappers for medicines

Of course, the need for washi dropped off with the invention of new packaging, but a young Mr. Yoshida, moved back to his hometown of Yatsuo, giving up a city life and a city job to start a washi-making mill in the small, well-preserved town of Yatsuo, not too far from Toyama City. Mr. Yoshida knew he had to make paper for new uses, so he decided to make kozo paper for artwork.  Mr. Yoshida befriended the katazome master himself, Mr. Keisuke Serizawa, while he was working up at Ogawamachi in Saitama, making his own paper for his stencil work.  Mr. Yoshida convinced Mr. Serizawa to try some Yatsuo paper (Etchu Washi) for his stencil work.  From that point forward, Mr. Serizawa used the kozo paper made at Mr. Yoshida’s newly fashioned mill.  FormingBlackKozosheetsIt was a start of what would become a long business relationship and friendship.  Both the Yoshidas and the Serizawa’s had a deep connection with mingei and both had the passion to carry the tradition of washi and katazome into the future.  Currently, the next generation of the Yoshida family run a paper shop, mill and incredible folk art museum, which houses the collection of the Yoshida parents.  Thanks to the friendship between the Yoshida family and the Serizawa family, this Yatsuo operation called Keijyusha continues to produce decorated katazome papers, stationery items and collectible calendars employing Serizawa’s original stencils.Lookforthesign

kakishibu paper "rug"

kakishibu paper “rug” in Museum.

There are still a few 2013 Serizawa desk calendars for sale at Paper Connection and many beautiful items in stock and for sale from this precious operation in Yatsuo.  Please call us or email us for more information.SerizawaProducts

Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc.

Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc.

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?!?!