Thursday, December 11, 2014

Irregular life

Mr. Min on the top of a work table as he slices backed fabric for a Korean mounting at Nakwon Pyogu (a mounting shop, though they do more than just scroll mounting. I'm a little in the dark in this field but I know the work involves a huge range, from books to screens to paintings to scrolls to framing and beyond).
Mr. Kim, with whom I spoke for a bit before leaving the fifth floor work space to return downstairs. He knew so much about hanji! I was impressed. Then again, they use a ton of paper in their work. I got a lecture about what "the old days" or "long ago" really means (it has to mean more than 50 years ago, not just 10).

This is Mr. Lee, who owns the business and had trained many successors (I visited one shop after this that belonged to a former employee) and his son, a lacquer artist who makes gorgeous paintings. They were very generous with me, considering I didn't really have a clear purpose. I had been told to learn how to mount, but knew this was not the right venue, so I did a regular interview instead. The elder Lee gave me all kinds of presents when I left, of printed stationery (he has a small woodblock near his right elbow and is enjoying hand printing these days), a catalog, and a book bound Korean-style for poetry.
The second shop I visited, Mukhodang Pyogu. Again, so much I don't know.
Though, after visiting so many conservation studios, this is a very familiar sight. In fact, Mr. Lee asked why the conservator who referred me didn't just show me herself, as painting conservators know all of this.
After over a week in the sun (and getting damp in between drying), the duck is transformed into its new outfit of gammul (persimmon "water", aka dye even though it's not really a dye). It was so fun to watch it change, though I didn't document that very well. Last night, I just finished the piece it's on, which has so many errors, but I don't care because now I know better how to do it right. The mistakes are my best teachers.


  1. is that a paste "painting"? and your duck looks very fine. and i love the winnowing basket shape. is that what it is in korea?

    1. it's a board used to dry layers of paper and cloth glued to mount pieces. when you remove the piece, some paper remains glued to the board (this is as far as I understand so I could be way off). the basket was meant to be more of something else; they do have winnowing baskets but i think they're much more shallow than this thing i have created :)

  2. Anonymous2:41 PM

    wonderful variety of people and experiences you are enjoying. love the duck and basket


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