My day started with a visit to the crafty neighborhood of Insadong (인사동), where you can find many Hanji and calligraphy shops, as well as numerous tea shops, art galleries and antique shops.
|A tiny Hanji shop in Insadong, Seoul.|
I usually buy my Hanji paper in my favorite shop in Jeonju (Jeollabuk-do province). It was a nice change for me to visit some of Seoul's shops, to see what they have to offer! I quickly noticed that the price of each sheet is higher than in Jeonju (Insadong is a famous tourist attraction, so the prices are crafted with the tourists and foreign visitors in mind!) but I didn't mind paying a little more for some exquisitely different patterned and textured papers.
After lunch, I headed over to NamDaeMoon Market (남대문시장) to purchase some more supplies, along with wrapping and packaging material. I made a mandatory stop at Alpha, a massive 5-floor stationery and art supply paradise where you can find anything and everything for craft and paper lovers : art supplies, stationery, tools, office supplies, paper of all kinds, stickers, toys, etc.!
"Hanji, after Korea"
Afterwards I took the subway to Itaewon, the most cosmopolitan neighborhood in Seoul. At 4 in the afternoon, I had the great chance to meet some craft lovers in a tiny art space called "Jankura Art Space".
|Hanji paper is easily accessible in Korea, but can|
be quite hard to find in other countries.
In her lecture, Jan talked about the challenges that she encountered when she left Korea; she wanted to continue doing her crafts, but was facing some problems : where to get actual Hanji paper? How to find the proper tools, adhesives and supplies? What are the available alternatives if you just cannot find what you are looking for?
Jan gave us some useful tips to find supplies, or suitable alternatives that can be purchased in most Western countries. She also shared her story with us, from the moment she started doing Hanji in Korea over a decade ago, all the way to the establishment of her own Hanji studio in the U.A.E.. We also talked about her future projects, of course!
Connecting with other Hanji craft aficionados
This encounter was extremely meaningful to me. I was thrilled to be sitting there, surrounded by enthusiastic craft lovers who share my excitement for Hanji, and everything it has to offer. There were about a dozen of us, sitting together and talking about our passion, ideas, struggles, challenges and questions, and it was wonderful to be a part of it. What an energizing experience!
You need to know that, most of the time, I am alone with my Hanji. Alone with my designs, my glue, my joys, my doubts, and my mountains of paper. Of course I am surrounded by loving people who care about me and my craft, but I hadn't had a chance (before yesterday!) to meet and chat with other Hanji lovers who understand and share my passion for this craft. What a wonderful moment!
|Jan Coveney (Hanji Happenings) |
and Natalie Thibault (HanjiNaty)
After the talk I had a chance to continue my conversation with Jan, Anna, Trish and their loving family members over food and drinks. It was unbelievably exciting to talk about our journeys, as expats, teachers, and Hanji craft artists! We quickly discovered how much we have in common, and how much we can share and learn from each other's experiences abroad.
I feel privileged to have met such wonderful people, who are now not only like-minded Hanji lovers and creators, but now dear like-minded friends.
Ready for our next gathering!
We were even dreaming and planning our next meet-up! How about a "Korean Hanji Tour", where we could gather and visit some important places in Korea (Hanji paper factories and workshops, museums, etc.), go on Hanji shopping sprees and, why not, do some crafts together! I am ready, Ladies!