Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Hanji in Wonju
A few of weekends ago, I took a 1.5-hour bus ride to the City of Wonju to enjoy the Hanji Festival.
Hanji is traditional Korean paper. It is a fiberous paper that comes in many colors and thicknesses. At the festival, I got to participate in the many stages of hanji-making, from the pulp beating to screening the pulp to decorating and drying my own piece of paper.
Hanji is mostly used for crafting various objects such as tableware, dolls, and kites. The items range from delicate, thin fans to sturdy boxes, and even furniture.
My favorite pieces were the the lanterns, which were hanging by the thousands all around the grounds. Some were made by local school children, and some were obviously professionally crafted.
Hanji garners so much respect in Korea that it has its own festival grounds and museum. Inside the museum, I learned the entire history of hanji, from its humble country beginnings to its modern annual fashion show. The best part of this exhibit was the hanji-making process told through dolls that were actually made from hanji.
The upper floor of the museum had a beautiful display of hanji art in one gallery...
...and a hanji art contest in another. The most beautiful piece was, by far, this gorgeous and fully-functional paper sedan chair, shown here with the artist.
In all, the Hanji Festival was a colorful and worthwhile experience. As an artist, it was easy to fall in love with this piece of Korean culture. I brought home a couple of souvenirs and many new crafting ideas.