Hand papermaking is a craft at an interesting relationship with a world full of commoditization and fast-paced technologies. Are there artists that embrace handcrafts, promote a local or regional heritage, and whose work remains respectful to the environment?
Meet Aimee Lee. Author of Hanji Unfurled, Fulbright fellow, artist and teacher, Aimee wears many hats. Not only does she create fascinating artwork, but she is the leading hanji researcher in the US, traveling to Korea to learn the indigenous hand papermaking practice and helping to establish the first American hanji paper studio.
A traditional Korean method of making paper that is also environmentally responsible, hanji paper is renowned for its strength, beauty, and multitude of uses. Torn into strips and corded with a method called jiseung, the material can be woven in to a remarkable range of objects, including chamber pots(!), shoes, and dustpans.
From Aimee’s artist statement:
“My pieces examine traditional objects used in various moments of life and history: paper shoes, once in vogue during the last dynasty in Korea; wedding ducks given to bride and groom to encourage fidelity and fertility; and water or wine gourds to store and improve the taste of beverages while traveling. I alter these forms by changing their proportions, shapes, and pairings to see how older technologies and stories inform contemporary versions of objects we use to this day.”
Starting from earlier work in performance and installation, Aimee’s more recent artwork ranges from book-based work, to woven paper objects, and to other handmade paper works. Through her artwork runs a continuous theme: the presence of the human hand and an approach that invests time, intention and care, using traditional handcrafts reimagined in a contemporary way.
Completely hooked and interested in finding out more? Follow the links below:
- View more of Aimee’s artwork at aimeelee.net >
- Purchase Aimee’s book, Hanji Unfurled >
- Follow along with Aimee’s journeys on her blog at moonaimee.blogspot.com>