Monday, March 14, 2016

A hanji hurricane

These two flags are outside the Korean Cultural Service. I looked for them on Saturday but they come down for the weekend. I think I took a grand total of 14 photos (4 are pictures of my delightful niece) all week. I have lost all ability document every step of my journeys, but this one was so fast-paced that there was no time to do anything but the task at hand.
Right before I my first TV interview for YTN (Korea's version of CNN), I managed to get ONE shot of my artwork in the gallery. There are also two small walls inside the space, each with my hanji videos on loop, and a section of the show outlines the history and process of making hanji (including my tools and materials). The TV interview went right up to the lecture start time, and then I gave my talk, set up for the workshop, inhaled a sandwich, and taught the workshop. Afterwards, I had to give Part 2 of this interview and was fairly certain that my legs were going to fall off of my body.
This is the NYT spread that includes highlights of this year's Asia Week. I had first only seen the online version, and then only the page containing the article during a visit from the wife of the UN Secretary General and her colleagues (this visit was after I gave a talk and hands-on demo to a group of 40 high school students from NJ). But my dad said that there was another duck in an adjacent advertisement.
Do you see it? Hilarious. Someone had fun laying this out. I barely slept that Friday, which saw not only the NYT mention, but a great feature in a major Korean newspaper. This reporter had noted some of the things I said in my talk during the opening, and followed up with an extensive phone interview.
The first workshop on Saturday was full and lively. In two hours, we covered single-sheet texturing, crepe paper, joomchi to fuse papers, making thread on the thigh and with a bobbin winder, cutting strips for cords, and making cords. Stefan came by to pick up my pieces going to Michigan this week so he could shoot them quickly before I flew to Cleveland today. I was not happy about losing an hour of sleep, but was so grateful to my parents for driving me on Sunday, picking up artwork from my photographer, and best of all, bringing my niece to the show one last time to say goodbye!
Sunday's workshop was slightly less frantic, and I had a lot of repeat students from Saturday who were happy to join us again. Ursula Mitra, pictured here, is a book conservator and made a beautiful hanji scarf. I met another conservator who is going to be at Paper Book Intensive this May. Over the week, it was also really touching to meet people who had done research and cited my book, or had researched my work, or otherwise wanted to express their admiration. I am always one to wait for the other shoe to fall, but this visit was fabulous (the only weird incident was being duped by a reporter impersonator who walked off with my book and tricked me into all kinds of photo ops. Note to self: anyone who lunges at you to shove your glasses up your face and touch your hair without asking, more than once, is probably not a real reporter).
This was when I tried to shoot a selfie for the real Korean reporter for her feature, but it apparently missed the print deadline. I don't mind, because I was out of my mind beat when I shot this. This morning's flight was uneventful, and I am so happy to be home for less than 48 hours before my next trip. Tomorrow night, I'll do a live radio interview for KBS World Radio, airing at 10am Korean time this Wednesday. To get coverage from print, TV, and radio all in the span of a week has been surreal, but the best part has been the platform to share my hanji work with friends, family, and a very energetic community. The team at the Korean Cultural Service was outstanding; the University of Michigan and friends have a hard act to follow this week!

I'll leave you with this wonderful short video about the Incan bridge in Peru that is rebuilt each year with cords and ropes of grass that a student shared with me. I absolutely love seeing the women cord grass exactly the way I do hanji.

1 comment:

  1. hnaji--been talking about you here. i love your selfie.


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