HANJI - a traditional Korean Craft
‘Han’ refers to the Korean people and ‘ji’ means paper. Han-ji is the term
used to describe Korean paper and it's also used to describe the art of
making objects out of the paper. It’s a paper made from the bark of the
mulberry tree ‘dak’ and is one of Korea’s oldest and most durable
products, dating back to the Three Kingdoms period around 130 AD.
Mulberry bark produces a low acidity paper. The quality of each sheet depends on the skill of the workers who carefully produce a paper with a specific depth and complexity. The paper has good ventilation due to the fibres not being spread too thickly and because each is long and thin, giving it flexibility and dexterity, as well as a high resilience to weather and moisture. These qualities have made it one of the longest lasting paper products in the world.
Hanji crafts began mainly out of necessity when Korean households
needed everyday items that were often unobtainable due to economic
reasons, so the people made items out of available materials.
This type of paper is ideal for using in Hanji crafts because when it’s wet
it molds easily over cardboard or wooden structures and the fibres
cling to the object.
Hanji paper was already used extensively in Korean households for covering windows, as wallpaper and when treated, it was used on floors. These products can still be seen in traditional Korean homes today. Small and large pieces of furniture were made out of cardboard or wood, then covered in Hanji paper and decorated with symbols that were important to Korean culture & their society. They also made bowls, boxes, and sets of drawers and then much later, when electricity was introduced, low wattage lanterns.
These days Hanji is seeing a resurgence in popularity across a variety of
generations in Korea and the craft is being taught to students in High schools.
Many people from different countries have seen and discovered this fine
craft and now what to continue doing it in their home countries. Up until now
little has been known outside of Korea about this craft called Hanji and most
of the information available is in Korean.
My wish is to introduce this craft to a more global audience and in so doing,
helping to keep Hanji, this very traditional Korean craft, alive. You can learn
more about it in my blog, which you can access from this website, and
I'll attempt to give you as much information as I can as I learn and discover