One of the days we made a tour to Jangjibang, a traditional Korean paper mill in rural Gapyong two hours from Seongnam. It was so nice to go from the very busy and crowded urban area into the countryside – seeing rolling green hillsides and pine forests and all kinds of fruit trees blooming along the roadside.
The paper mill of Jangjibang is a small family run company handed down from father to son for three generations.
Father and sons are skilled craftsmen creating the most delicious(!) hand-made papers; varying from skin thin folios to heavy leather-like, man-size ones.
It was a great experience to watch the process – and we even were invited to try the noble art of papermaking ourselves.
Not at all that easy I can tell; but with the most amazingly beautiful results.
We were encouraged to go into the garden to collect flowers and leaves for embellishing our papers – and it worked out pretty well: Randomly scattered petals embedded between two layers of ultra thin paper mass – look like pure poetry!
We also attended a small workshop of traditional 5 knot book binding – and all ended up with the cutest and very individual notebooks.
One of the professors of Hongik University served all day as our chauffeur – so after Jangjibang we went straight to visit his printing classes in Seoul. Totally well equipped departments as far as I could tell though some of the material smelled somewhat toxic… (I’m not at all sure health and environmental thinking is so integrated in the Korean print teaching syllabus as it could be… Hopefully it will become a subject in a near future).
Anyway, at the faculty of Fine Arts one teacher(?) efficiently demonstrated his skills doing one of his prints, almost like a performance, with all of us and his colleagues literally hanging over his shoulders watching.
He was preparing his first solo exhibition – so no shaking hands!
The outing ended with a delicious dinner at local restaurant.
When we left the place – totally exhausted and filled up with impressions from the day – we met a group of school boys, age 15-16, waiting for their school bus 10 o’clock in the evening!!! Normal practice we were told!
Another unforgettable day!