The word “Hanji” directly translates to “the paper of Korea.” Sounds simple, right? Paper is paper.
No. Just… no.
Creating Hanji, a paper made from the bark of mulberry trees, is an incredibly arduous process. Though it’s time and energy intensive to make, the end result is worth it.
So durable, the oldest text made of Hanji is well preserved after 800 years.
So resilient, Korean soldiers wore it as armor.
And so beautiful, it is used to create wondrous works of art.
Enter artist-in-residence Sammy Lee, who was born and raised in Korea. During her residency, she brought the art of casting with Hanji to the guests of the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. This highly energetic process involves tearing, soaking, wringing and beating the Hanji, transforming its fibers into a luminous material that is still tough as leather.
Her leave behind piece, a stunning paper lantern chandelier, utilizes lacquered Hanji and was created with the help of Museum guests.
“The project was possible because of this place and the kids that come here, their hands and energy went in to the process,” said Sammy Lee of the installation, Energy Cloud.
The fixture brings a vibrant, colorful pop of light over the stairwell between ENERGY and WATER. Be sure to check it out on your next visit!
by Sammy Lee, fall 2019
NEXT UP: Victor Escobedo, a mixed-media artist who reinterprets the ancient in a modern way. Join him during his open studio hours to learn about Mayan folklore and expression, explore indigenous art forms and make your own hieroglyphics!