Friday, November 12, 2010

Work is hard but hanji has finally landed in NYC

Tonight's Book Arts Lounge went well! No time for being a lizard, and not even time to eat wasabi peas or whatever refreshments were out; there must have been at least 40 people in attendance. People started to come in well before the published start time and were all super engaged. I was going to make a joke at the beginning about how it was a lounge so the first portion (my lecture) was the part where I'd let people sleep, but i didn't even have time for that. The three hours actually seemed long, so I was able to cover a lot of material and then stagger my demos. It was the most amount of people I've ever had do joomchi in one space (this is one of the two bindery spaces and both were full), so it was like a massive drum circle. It seemed uncoordinated, but it was amazing to hear, at one moment, a lull when suddenly everyone stopped banging on the tables. And there was laughter. And what I especially love about all of the hanji workshops I've taught thus far: people always help each other, which lightens my load significantly.

I learn more each time I teach cording, and have to remember to include "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" into my demos. I also made my first public mention (even before I mentioned it here!) tonight about my jiseung teacher's wife: she passed away suddenly over a month ago. I was very upset and had gotten the news from my teacher the night before I left to meet Ben, but thankfully I've heard from him since and he is hanging in there. His entire immediate family is now gone, but he even said he wants to travel more, so I hope I can get him here sooner than later so he can perform his magic. Tonight reminded me again of my huge debts to all of my teachers in Korea, b/c they had been so generous. I think that is why I go all out whenever I get a chance to teach about hanji; it's the only way to go!

As an aside: the other night, I watched "The Story of the Weeping Camel." It's a wonderful film set in Mongolia and involves families, camels, and a morin khuur player (roughly a Mongolian violinist). Near the beginning, the men shear a camel and then bring the wool to an elder woman who is cording it into rope to create a harness for a colt. I had noticed the fuzzy rope at the very start of the film when an elder ties up sticks with it and had wondered, but was SO taken by watching the woman cord. It was like cording hanji only backwards! We cord from down to up and she was cording from up to down. I loved it. It's so funny the things that jump out at you once you key into certain things (like the random job cases and letterpresses in "Inception").

And a final hurrah from tonight: a student tonight told me about how we are all taught that Gutenberg did the first metal moveable type, but she told me about a tiny display somewhere in the depths of the natural history museum here in NYC that shows Korean metal moveable type, dated well before his time. I didn't know they had those artifacts since I figured all western cultures like to go w/the Gutenberg story. Maybe I'll look for it after jury duty next week. For now, I need a breather. I have to install one more set of window shades tomorrow (I did more today, manually, since the power drill stripped all of my screws) and then I am calling it a weekend!


  1. it's my turn to wish i could have been there! i'm SO glad it was a good night. and just wait till i show you some other video on cordage.

  2. Hooray! I want to be in a Joomchi drum circle.

  3. Congratulations! So happy it went well. Sorry about your teachers wife.


thanks for visiting!