Monday, March 17, 2014

Papertree Hanji Boutique

A reader emailed me to say she thought I would enjoy seeing the Korean hanji paper items that Moon Munson creates and sells via Papertree Hanji Boutique, such as this tiered jewelry chest with a curving top, reminiscent of a traditional Korean roof. Indeed I did enjoy a visit to the shop, as Moon's work is remarkable and meticulous.


She uses 3mm paper chipboard to form the chest, and although it looks as if it is painted, the exterior surfaces are covered with smooth hanji paper.


She hand cuts a symbolic butterfly and peony flower to decorate the side and front, and places a large circle of lotus flowers on the back. Even the drawers are lined with special hanji paper that features Korean artist 'Yi Kyong-ja's chrysanthemum and poem.


Hanji paper is made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree that grows on low lying hills and fields throughout Korea. It has long, resilient, shiny fibers that are extremely durable and able to last a thousand years!

mulberry bark and hanji sheets

I've been interested in the art of container making ever since Cecelia Louie created a Mysterious Stationery Box as her project for my All Things Paper book (see the trick box in action here). There are quite a few steps involved in the making of such items, and it's fascinating to learn about the process.

Moon begins with a detailed diagram and measurements, precisely cuts and assembles a chipboard structure using a scalpel, metal ruler, and glue, carefully covers the surfaces with hanji, and finally protects the completed item with water resistant varnish.


She lives in England with her husband Paul, who photographs her work beautifully. I was curious to learn how Moon came to do this type of paper art.

I was born in Korea and grew up there until I moved to the UK in 2000. In 2011, I quit my day job to work for myself and while traveling in Korea, I rediscovered the art of Hanji paper. I cannot pass any stationery shop without going in to see what's new and come out with bag full of things most of the time, so working with Hanji paper is just a perfect form of art that allows me to express myself. 


I am self-taught, learning necessary techniques from books, and I also learn from, share tips with, and hear about new papers from other Hanji artists and crafters in Korea. There are many different forms of Hanji paper art/craft, so I am still learning every day. 

 Faceted Jewelry Box with Handmade Bead Necklace

All of the Hanji paper I use is from Korea, either imported or bought when I'm there. I love the feel and texture of Hanji paper, which is very different from the paper most people are familiar with. Because it is very fibrous, when I use it to cover objects such as my jewellery boxes or jewellery chest, the corners are very neat and without creases because the paper expands to a certain degree when wet with glue. In other words, the paper is very flexible, but at the same time this is when the paper is most delicate. Learning how best to work with it takes practice and care.

Moon makes unique Rock Paper necklace pendants and earrings from small hanji off-cuts to avoid waste, and uses large sheets to decoupage furniture such as this coffee table.  


She creates fine paper cuttings to apply as ornamentation, sometimes layering them with colored hanji. 


Moon is a member of Villa 56 that participates in Brighton and Hove's Artists Open Houses held in Hove, England twice yearly. The next Open Houses will be held weekends, May 3-25, 2014.

Jewelry box with three compartments, a pull-out tray, and hand cut, modern Korean motifs

Papertree Hanji Boutique is also on Facebook.

Here's a previous post about weaving with hanji that you might enjoy.


Vicki Smith said...

The workmanship is truly amazing!

Kim said...

How she gets all the corners so precise is a true mystery! If I tried it would probably lean a bit one way or another lol!

Paul Munson said...

Thanks Ann for mentioning me as the photographer - it's a privilege to photograph Moon's Hanji work and a challenge to capture some of its delicate qualities.

Ann Martin said...

You're so right, Vicki!

Ann Martin said...

I know, right? Me too. Tons of practice, I'm sure.

Ann Martin said...

You're very welcome, Paul. Great teamwork!

Rachel Follett Lovely Clusters said...

Beautiful work!

SUGANTHI said...

Thanks for all the information about Hanji paper Ann.Moon's chest looks beautiful , Love her intricate paper cuts which she uses in her work , they look more like paintings on the chest.

Moon said...

Thanks Suganthi!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...