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Joomchi! Everybody's talking about it! October 03 2012

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?!?!

Tales From The Twin Cities, Part 1 June 16 2011

I just came back from my first visit to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and participated in in the Surface Design Association Conference for the very first time. The conference normally takes place in Kansas City, but this year it was in Minneapolis within the University of Minnesota East Campus. Within the massive University of Minnesota campus there is the Textile Center, art galleries, like the Regis and even a Frank Gehry building. Delving into the world of fiber arts was a bit of a side step for both me and Paper Connection. I thought : What's "in" in the fiber world? ; what the latest craze?... Around here in little Rhody, the Weaver's Guild members' interests have been peaked with making shifu...touched upon in a recent blog. See below. And over the years Paper Connection has had various fiber artist customers, who work mainly with paper- like paper quilters. Check out Lucinda Carlstrom's work; she's phenomenal. Only in the last couple months I have acquired a lovely book called "Paper Textiles", by Christina Leitner. Reading Ms. Leitner's book plus some other fiber art books from Japan, encouraged me to think deeper and attempt to round out my paper knowledge with the story of paper as a textile. Stitched, sewn, stapled or glued, for centuries paper has been made into cloth or has been part of textile. Just last week, while at the SDA conference, I learned about joomchi- the Korean art of paper felting. I can't get enough of Jiyoung Chung's joomchi pieces. Jiyoung lives in my town, Providence!, and she happened to be teaching at the SDA conference, and had her work exhibited at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Too many coincidences.
MCBA Joomchi by Jiyoung Chung
Looking back to last week, I have to say the first day was truly the highlight of the trip to the Twin Cities. Events planned for that first day was a staff meeting and evening presentation at Wet Paint: a very loyal, faithful, and consistent customer for years, located in St. Paul. Beth Bergman, the owner, and her wonderful staff was gracious to host me at the store, so I could introduce the techniques of hand-papermaking and paper textiles to a bunch of eager fiber artists via SDA conference, as well as to local, Wet Paint customers. The Wet Paint staff was not only interested in my paper-preach, but they are all very interesting and talented artists, who I wish I could have spent more time with. After the first day of my trip, I was quite fortunate to spend time with Ann Snowbeck, a buyer at Wet Paint, who is just a sweetie pie; most importantly... I realized she and I have the same (great) taste in accessories! More Twin City tales coming soon.