For over a thousand years, the small city of Jeonju has been the heart of South Korea’s traditional arts. Korean paper, called hanji, is one of the art forms that are still made here today. Kang Kapseok, now a hanji craftsman, first saw the hanji-making process while visiting nearby mountains.
“When I was young, I went there (in the mountains) and saw the way to make Korean paper, hanji, there. It was so beautiful that I wanted to make it. Hanji has been made in Korea for more than 1 ½ thousand years. But, that’s nothing compared to the fact that the paper itself can last up to 1,000 years,” he explains.
Mulberry wood is the raw material used in the hanji.
Kang Kapseok explains the process:
“From the beginning of December to February we cut the mulberry trees. First we steam the bark to get it off the wood. Then through the boiling and lightening process, the wood pulp becomes white. The treated pulp is mixed into water and collected with a fine screen. The sheets are piled into a stack, and will be dried out to finally create the strong and durable paper.”
A lot of tourists come every day to see Kapseok’s factory and paper shop. At his gift shop you can see almost anything made from hanji: fans, lamps, masks and even ties. Personally, we chose to buy up big the gorgeous hand-made paper. It’s perfect to use as a reusable wrapping paper for gifts, and to use for crafts and even decoration on your wall