Papercrafts Korean Feature Artist

F E A T U R E   A R T I S T
   Sun-Ock, Bong
   Method of Papier Mache1
   Method of Papier Mache2

Title of Feature Article:
Papers in Korea and
papercraft Artist Sun Ock Bong

Introducing the Papercraft Artist:
Sun Ock Bong

-Lim Myung Joo, Sang Gi Ho 'Papercraft'-,
Someone said "paper is like humans". Paper can easily get broken, hurt and injured as the human hearts but it can also get stronger the more it is pounded it gets stronger, and as it joins several sheets it gets more resistant and after a process of shaping it matures as humans do and feels like it.

A Workbox, Chosun Dynasty

Papers could be the most representative elements that expresses the image of humans. Paper has evolved along with human history and enlightens us the past, the present and the future. Most of the people tend to think that paper are to write something on it but in the past Koreans made furniture with paper, all kind sort of daily life handicrafts. They even cover the walls and the floor with papers. It seems that paper has been widely used by Koreans.

1. SunOck Bong , Papercraft Artist
SunOck Bong lives with her husband and children in Yeoju, a city located at an hour distance from Seoul. Her house is a newly renovated is a newly renovated traditional Korean house and her workshop is made of loess. It is very difficult to find her house because it is completely surrounded by mountains and rice paddy fields which change form and color every season and consequently puzzles her visitors. When I first visited her it was springtime. My next visit was during summer and the third visit was in autumn. So in all I have been there three times but I still cannot place her house easily. Is it perhaps because I am being deceived by the seasons' camouflage?

Most of the artisans receive many things from their surrounding and the environment they live in. Sun Ock Bong is not an exception. The colors and motifs of her pieces come from the nature surrounding her home. Sun Ock Bong decorates her pieces with wild flowers that she gathers and dries during springtime. Those are flowers that one can easily be seen near her house. Sometimes she dyes her work with traditional colors. She dyes them with solutions of soy bean, indigo plant or earth.

The works of SunOck Bong are appreciated because of their sturdiness. Because of her tireless effort to make every corner and every detail of her boxes and furniture with meticulous exactitude, it guarantees the durability of her work. And because she uses her own works she corrects any imperfection she encounters in her work. That is why they are easier and more comfortable to use. Every traditional pattern that is used as a decoration has been transformed by her and applied to her pieces. The motifs she uses are original but somehow give us a familiar feeling. Sun Ock Bong says that the attractive points of Korean paper crafts are its warmth and naturalness and the endless possibilities of transformations.

Do you want to know about her works?
Try to visit this!!!

2. Korean Papers
In order to know what Korean papercraft is like, it is necessary to know about the Korean traditional paper. Since this subject covers a great deal of information, we will look into it in detail when we feature Korean papers. We could say that this is just a try-out. Let's take a peek and see what Korean paper is all about. Korea, which has had dynamic ties with China ever since prehistoric times, has been using paper since before BC 600 and it is said by historians that Koreans passed on the paper making techniques to Japan later on.
Why do we call Korean paper Hanji? We may find the answer to this question in the book "The Culture of paper in Korea"published by the National Folk Museum. "Hanji is paper made out of the best of the mulberry tree. It is called 'hanji' in order to differentiate it from 'yangji', paper brought in from the West." Hanji is the name that just 100 years ago was given to the Korean paper. Traditionally there are some 90 different types of paper, each with its own name. The latter is due to the different names, methods of preparation, designs, and materials used, all of which indicate the development of the Korean paper culture. We will leave the talk on paper now and go on to the paper crafts.

3. Korean papercraft

Our heritage of paper crafts made of Hanji was formed since the middle of the Chosun Dynasty. Many think that the middle and last period of the Chosun Dynasty were the peak of the Hanji papercrafts. Papercrafts were used by the royalty in the palace all the way down to the peasants. By the fact that there were state-sponsored papercrafters, we infer that Hanji crafts were at a considerable level and widely used. Here are some of the characteristics of Hanji worthy mentioning.

First,it can be made with paper, an easily obtainable material.
Second,it does not require special skills to do it, so anyone can make it easily.
Third,because of the nature of the paper, it gives off a smooth and cozy feeling.
Fourth,Hanji papercrafts are strong and durable.
Fifth,one never grows weary of them. We can feel the warmth of the people and appreciate the colors of the paper as the time passes by.
Sixth, you can even put liquids in these pieces because they can be oiled or lacquered and made waterproof. They even make good water-pails! (The only defect is that they are expensive.)
Seventh,whatever the volume of the papercraft piece, don't worry about its weight: it's really light. Remember, it's paper!
Eighth, lacquered or oiled handicrafts cannot be moth-eaten, your children and grand children can inherit them. Though it may be hard to believe, during the Chosun Dynasty period there was hardly anything that was NOT made of paper.

Hanji Crafts in Korea are divided into different types according to the method of production.

1. Method of weaving paper into narrow rope-like cords, which was used to in making cushions, cloths, carpets, etc.
2. Method of pasting layer after layer of paper to form a pattern which was used to make pots and furniture.
3. Papier Mache Method. It decorates objects by cutting and pasting hanji papers on them.
4. Other ways to work with Hanji are:
chido kibop or knife-cut method,
osaek kibop or multi-color paper scissors-cut method,
yanggak jeonji kibop or embossing method,
tugak jeonji kibop or perforated decoration method,
sturdy paper method, jihwa kibop or artificial flowers,
chihwa kibop or drawn flowers method.

*For anyone who wish to know more about this subject, please write to us through our E-mail address.

Of these, Bong Sun Ock introduces us the methods number 3. and 2., which are the methods of papercraft she enjoys using the most.


Copyright (c) 1998 Click Asia All rights reserved.
Contact for more information.