Korean Paper Art with Aimee Lee

If you love paper, perhaps you've delighted in using sheets of unusual, loosely fibered mulberry paper from your local craft store. But have you ever wondered about the who, where, and how behind these beautiful papers? Aimee Lee, who filmed the video of Korean jiseung weaving with hanji that I featured here earlier this week, definitely has.

ink drawing on sheet of hanji
Aimee Lee: Gaping III (2009). Ink on hanji; 52 x 53 inches

I admire the way Aimee is meticulously introducing a subject to the internet that has never been thoroughly covered. A paper artist and also, as she phrases it, "the self-appointed hanji ambassador to the English and Korean-speaking worlds," Aimee is doing her best to document Korean paper making. Hanji, by the way, has the smoothest surface of all the handmade papers, making it well suited for painting and calligraphy.

Aimee Lee: Round (2008). Handmade abaca paper, spun and knit, 10" diameter

An American born to Korean parents, Aimee realized there was huge gap in English documentation of paper making in Korea while she was studying for a Master's degree in interdisciplinary book and paper arts, so traveled there to explore the subject after being awarded a Fulbright grant.

Aimee Lee: Currency Flight (2008). Price tags, thread, spun handmade paper, variable installation length up to 143 inches

She plans to write a book about all facets of Korean paper making, but meanwhile has posted online a great deal of what she learned in Korea. Currently Aimee is back in the States, creating her own extraordinary artwork composed of hanji and other types of paper she makes herself, and is also a performance, sound, visual, book, and text artist.

Aimee Lee: Paper (2007). Sample books of handmade paper from plants found in North Central Wyoming: sagebrush and cattail. 6.5 x 5 x 1 inch closed, 60 inches opened

Thanks to Aimee Lee's extensive documentation of the subject, the art of Korean paper making and weaving is far less likely to slip away with time... not to mention I now appreciate beautiful, specialty papers even more after seeing how much work goes into their creation!

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Now I think I have seen it all. This centuries old technique is AMAZING. I loved the video Aimee made and the research she did is a treasure to have. I love the video and did not want to miss a thing so I had to keep pausing so I could read and not miss what was on the video.


  2. I get excited every time I see you've posted...and you never disappoint!! LOVE it!

  3. can't say more, ann. the video is so amazing! and of course the hanji paper making is amazing! thank you very very much for sharing this ♥ :D

  4. LOVED that video! What a fascinating process. I especially love the music in the background while the credits roll. ;)

    I'd love to know how many sheets they get out of one vat, and how long each vat is good for (i.e., how quickly they have to make the paper, or whether it can sit for days, weeks, etc.).

    Fascinating stuff.

  5. Hi Ann,

    I just recently got hooked on paper making using recycled paper. It is amazing to watch Aimee's video from the mulberry bark to finish. Thank you.

  6. What a fascinating process that is. I enjoyed watching that video. I've seen so many tutorials on line for making paper and I've really been wanting to give it a try. I know it's nothing compared to what was done here but it still sounds like so much fun to me.

  7. Thanks for sharing this great video Ann.

  8. nicely done, ann. what you can't, perhaps, see from her website and videos, is what a wonderful friend and colleague aimee is, as well as an artist of integrity.

  9. Such enthusiastic comments, everyone - am so glad you enjoyed the feature.

    Melissa, Aimee is traveling right now, so I'll post her answer for her to your questions:

    "I've been on the road and backlogged with work. Quick replies: the number of sheets depends completely on how thick your sheets are. 2nd question: depends entirely on the weather. If it's freezing cold, the fiber lasts longer than if it's sweltering hot."


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