|Hanji kits are widely available in Korea.|
As choosing the colors and the patterns has always been my favorite part of the Hanji creative process, I quickly moved away from "kits", that come with the frame and the Hanji paper. They're easy to find and they can be quite tempting: the paper is already measured, the patterns already cut, the colors already chosen. All you have to do it to clue the paper onto the form and voilà! You are done.
|My very first Hanji creation!|
For me, Hanji crafts have always been more than that. From my very first lesson with my Hanji teacher, I insisted on cutting all the designs myself.
She was quite surprised, but she didn't try to discourage me: she pulled out this gigantic folder, overflowing with designs of all sorts and sizes, and she let me choose. I chose traditional Korean ducks (a symbol of marital love and companionship) for my tissue case.
It took forever, but I did it. The cutting wasn't perfect, the lines weren't as sharp as I wanted them to be, but it was all MINE. My work. My effort. My creation. And it's always meant the world to me. And after making one I knew that I wouldn't stop anytime soon!
Thinking Outside the Box
After using only forms for a while, I decided to purchase some large sheets of sturdy single-core cardboard and cut it myself, in order to create my own objects. Blisters and cursing were to be expected!
After much effort (and way-too-many measuring attempts), I was able to construct a small desk organizer with two long drawers to hold pencils and a larger open part to hold post-it notes, small notebooks and other ephemera. It took me a while to make it, and it's far from straight (my two grandfathers being carpenters, I should have been good at this! but well... we are who we are, I guess) but it's all mine. And I love it! It's been following me from desks to desks in my different schools, and every time I look at it it reminds me of what Hanji means to me.
From then on I started to cut my own cardboard to create square magnets. I couldn't find squares of the desired size already cut so I had to make them myself! Same thing with the hair barrettes that are now one of the most popular items in my Etsy shop; I cut the thick cardboard myself to suit my needs, and it allows me a flexibility and countess possibilities that I would never give up again.
I didn't have any use for the tiny strips of paper, but I didn't have the heart to throw away such precious material. Therefore, I kept stuffing the craps in a cardboard box with the vague idea of "doing something with it later", which should probably be our motto, us crafters and craftoholics...! No kidding, how many have you said yourself this beloved sentence?
Believe it or not, the time came to finally "do something" with all these little scraps and strips of paper. One day, I was trying to decide what to do with small rectangles of sturdy cardboard when the idea struck me : how about Hanji jewelry? I started playing around with scraps and made my very first pair of earrings that day!
I have been making dozens of pairs of earrings ever since, and I am slowing extending my collection to include key chains, phone pendants, and possibly other small items!
I still have mountains of scraps in my workshop (I seem to be producing scraps faster than I can use them!) but now at least I know that they will be put to good use in the near future!
Do you have any other ideas to use all these scraps of cardboard and strips of Hanji paper? Leave a comment on the Blog!
To read more about my Hanji adventures and projects :
My love story with Hanji :
Off the Walls :
My meaningful Hanji trip to Seoul :