Wood and Hanji Paper Chest W. 73cm, D. 47cm, H. 131cm
This hanji-plastered three-tier chest has the entire surface, except the columns and beams of the frame, plastered with two layers of hanji. This paper’s surface was cut off around the square hinges that bear weight, which has the effect of drawing emphasis upon the dark iron ornaments. A round door-knob which emphasizes simplicity has the effect of making the hanji-plastered surface appear larger, and gives the impression of softness to the furniture. The paper used in this furniture is from Mun-gyeong of North Gyeongsang Province. It is made from paper mulberry trees from that region by traditional papermaking techniques. Only this paper made by these traditional processes maintains its coloring, touch, breathability, strength and durability.
In a traditional Korean house, doors and windows are covered with hanji . They look illuminated when seen from inside during the daytime and when seen from outside at night. The window and door frames show geometrically designed patterns in silhouette. When the moonlight casts shadows of tree branches onto the papercovered doors and windows, a romantic ambience is presented to the house. Hanging or standing lamps covered with hanji give a soft, warm and indirect lighting of either a candle or a light bulb through their translucent surfaces. The hanji-plastered chest with lamps installed inside is an attempt to apply the traditional concept of brining furniture, hanji and light together. The chest displays the soft touch and milky color of hanji, and projects items inside the chest in silhouette. The lamps used are LED bulbs which will not affect the furniture with heat and ultraviolet waves. The bulbs in strings are easy to install and produce the desired lighting effects. These lamps can be controlled by dimmer-switches to suit various purposes and desired ambiance.
The paulownia wood chest has the shape and proportionality of a typical book chest used by seonbi literati. This book chest is sturdy enough to hold heavy books and the front has sliding-panel doors for easy access to the books, which makes it more graceful. Simple square hinges are used to bear weight, and a single round door-knob is placed in the center to make the front-side appear simple and wide. The frame of the book chest is made of reddish-brown chinaberry wood and its front, side and back panels are made of paulownia wood. Paulownia wood has unique fibroid materials that can control humidity inside furniture. Even very thin layers of it do not warp or split. Paulownia wood, therefore, is ideal for storage of documents, books and clothes. However, the wood is not very hard and is therefore susceptible to scratches and dirt. Traditional furniture makers prepared the wooden panels by burning the white surface with hot iron rods and brushing off fibrous crumbs using rice stalks, which is called the nakdong technique. Thus treated, such wood panels show natural tree rings as clearly visible, and get a dark hue. Furniture made of such paulownia wood-panels goes well with the simple but serious ambience of a sarangbang, the men’s quarters in a traditional Korean house.
He was born in Hongseong, South Chungcheong Province, in 1950. At age 18, in 1968, he began learning carpentry at the Onui Craft Art Institute led by Professor Choi Hoe-kwon at Seorabol Art College. He also learned from carpentry master Heo Gi-haeng. In recognition of his mature skill, excellent knowledge of manufacturing techniques and efforts for nurturing young artisans, the Cultural Heritage Administration designated him in 2010 as Important Intangible Cultural Property 55, Master Artisan of Furniture Making. He won the President’s Prize at the 17th Korea Annual Traditional Handicraft Art Exhibition in 1992 and the Grand Prize at Don-A Crafts Competition in 1989. He has operated a studio named Yeongsan Gongbang since 1981. He has taught furniture making at the Korea Traditional Craft Architecture School of the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation since 1994. Including the solo exhibition Traditional Wood Furniture Masterpieces held at the Seoul Arts Center in 2012, he has participated in some twenty invitational and solo exhibitions. His major artworks are on display at 13 places at home and abroad, including the Blue House (presidential residence) and the Ilmin Museum of Art.
Han Kyung-hwa was born in Yesan, South Chungcheong Province, in 1969. She first got interested in the art of colored papers as a hobby in 1998, when she was reading a book by a famous colored paper artist. Prior to 1998, she had been an interior designer for 10 years. At the 30th Traditional Handicraft Competition in 2005, she received an encouragement award. In the 2006 Hanji Festival in Wonju, she won the silver prize. In the 15th National Hanji Handicraft Competition organized by the Jeonju Hanji Festival in 2009, she received a special prize. She has received about 20 awards and honors in-total.
She has presented her works at more than 20 exhibitions at home and abroad, including the 2010 Hanji Handicraft Exhibition at the Tokyo Cultural Center of Japan, and the 2011 Korean Handicraft Art Exhibition at the International Exposition in Paris, France. In 2005, she made the container for the certificate of award and the boxes for prizes for the First UNESCO Jikji Award. She has authored three books, including “Application Patterns 3 for Chobit’s Hanji Handicraft – Mother-of-Pearl Inlaid Low Chest”, 2011, ID. She is a co-author of another such book. She operates the Hanji House (www.hanjihouse. com) and Hanji & Light (www.hanji4u.com).