Hanji is Korean handmade paper. Its techniques are endangered, so I spent a year in Korea on a Fulbright grant to research its papermaking tradition and methods. I also researched craft forms such as paper weaving, paper felting, natural dyeing, and calligraphy to create a context for Korean papermaking and its importance in history and contemporary life. My goal is to use my research to teach these methods in the US to keep hanji alive.
I have been invited to teach Korean papermaking in early August at the Morgan Conservatory (http://www.morganconservatory.org/), a papermaking center in Cleveland, Ohio. However, they don't have the equipment to make Eastern/Asian paper, and a limited budget and staff. I will donate my time and labor to spend a month in Cleveland to build the equipment so that I can teach the class, and so that future students can learn Eastern papermaking. This would become the only facility in the US equipped to teach hanji making--they even grow the plants for it.
The major pieces needed are a large vat (6 x 5.3 x 1.25 ft) and student frames and screens. I plan to build most of the latter so that they can also be used for Japanese papermaking, which is similar to the Korean style. They can even be used in a pinch for Western papermaking.
How is hanji actually made? Watch videos here: http://aimeelee.net/paper/hanjib/ or view photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonaimee/collections/72157614703705843/. What can you make with hanji? Here are some basics: http://aimeelee.net/paper/hanjiresearch/.
I am raising funds to cover my living and transportation expenses; anything over my goal (or if I'm able to find cheaper housing) will go towards materials like mulberry bark and hanji to be imported from Korea to teach the class and stock the site. The Morgan will supply materials, a wood shop, and a work space. Your contribution goes towards airfare from NY (my home) to Cleveland, room and board, and public transportation to get to work each day.
Hanji is beautiful, tough, and versatile. You can use it to cover the entire interior of your home (including floors and windows--forget glass, hanji insulates better), or for audio speakers, robotics (it conducts electricity), food preparation and storage, clothing, and furniture. I can't bear to think about it disappearing, and think that given a chance, it could charm the world.
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