Korean paper art embraces practicality and artistic beauty

기사승인 2021.12.22  11:10:18

▲ Korea Paper Artist Haesook Noh (aka Heonsong)

[Paper Mulberry and Korean Paper]

Koreans have long used the paper mulberry to make things used in daily lives. Korean paper is easily forming and has strong durability. Back in the days, ordinary people made boxes and containers for sawing tools, jewels and cosmetics, and props that can be put here and there in the house. It was when plastic altered existing boxes and containers that this traditional art lost its practicality. Since then, the creative minded have used the paper art as a form that crosses the boundary between craft and art. As the quality of life has been improved much, more and more people are doing this traditional art as a hobby. 


[Haesook Noh]

Also known as Heonsong, a South Korean paper artist Haesook Noh is a master certificate holder in the field. She quit her job after marriage and was busy rearing her baby. She felt emptiness and it came from her career break. She wanted to do something that can fill this emptiness and she came to know about Korean paper art by chance. She enrolled to a local culture center and not long after met a master instructor who has passed down mastery techniques to her.


“It was like I encountered a new calling of my life when I met a Korean paper art master. The genre has both practicality and artistic beauty and I was drawn to it so much. It didn’t require high level of skills but an ordinary person like me could also do it. It made me relaxed and I felt proud of myself when I made something useful with the paper with my own hands” says Noh.


You do not need a drawing skill to do Korean paper art as the set designs are provided. So you just need to cut and paste or twist straw ropes. However, you need to create your own designs if you move forward from this basic level and like Noh did.


“In order to create my own designs, I found some inspiration from Korean folk paintings. The art is also practiced by ordinary people and it has vivid colors and friendly and mythic objects. So I thought I might better use these elements, and combine them with paper art so that I can create my own styles.”


[From A Hobbyist To A Master]

“If you are not crazy about it, you cannot achieve it” says Noh. She points out everybody can do the art as a hobby but those who are into it should spend a considerable amount of time and effort. Like many craft and art genres, being a mater should have power to push things forward and should be able to create one’s own style through countless errors and trials. 


“It is regretful that not many local culture centers are running Korean paper art courses. I believe making a craftwork or artwork with our own hands makes us feel fulfilled and it is mentally beneficial as much as physically. In fact, Korean paper art is not all about practicality and artistic beauty but it actually is a healthier material than other materials such as plastic and steel. So put your own paper work can change ambience of your home or office.”


Noh is planning to hold exhibitions in the National Assembly next year. <PowerKorea>

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