November 15, 2015

Art Workshop Day: Joomchi!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the ArtWorks!/SMEC Art Educators Workshop at the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! IT IS MY FAVORITE DAY!!! 

Deb Smook and Sherri Tetreault do an amazing job designing a full-day workshop that art teachers will love and they treat us as VIPs- very important professionals! All of my art teacher people out there know what I mean when I say that this is a rare thing. It is a breath of fresh air, and each year I return to school with a positive attitude and energy!

This year, my favorite part of the day was the Joomchi worksop with Jiyoung Chung. She is a master of this ancient Korean art form that was originally created as a substitute for fabric. 

Jiyoung gave us a presentation about the art form and it's history, and showed us dozens of examples of how this art can be used and created. She had examples of paper with beautiful openings created naturally during the Joomchi process, pieces that were sewn together and used to make a skirt, and a piece worked until so soft it felt like silk. It was amazing to see the different results that could be achieved from this method. Her book, Joomchi & Beyond, is a great resource with many photos of examples. It is available for order online.

When the presentation was done, our group headed over to the New Bedford National Park Visitor Center where a large upper floor room with a beautiful view of the harbor was set up for us to try Joomchi ourselves. Jiyoung gave a us a demonstration (see photos below), and then assisted us as we gave it a try.

What makes Joomchi rewarding is the multiple outcomes possible with just water and paper, and how mistakes can be easily reworked into the artwork to make it even more interesting. There is a therapeutic quality to the process, where manipulating the paper takes patience and muscle power. It lends itself to quiet thinking and is actually a good way to strengthen hand muscles. 

The results of the process are art works that are textural, colorful, and semi-transparent. The paper can be used to make objects, wall art, or sculptures. I enjoyed making it so much that I plan to buy some mulberry paper and try more on my own. I would also like to teach this to my students. This is an art form that can appeal to all ages and art ability levels. 

Check out the photos below, taken with permission on November 3, 2015.

If you are an art teacher in the Southeastern Massachusetts area, make sure you sign up for next year’s workshop!!
Joomchi examples

Mulberry paper is folded and cut, similar to making a snowflake.
A solid sheet is brushed with water.
A cut piece is layer atop the solid piece. 

The paper is smoothed out carefully. It is very thin, similar to tissue paper.
Paper layers are added, each brushed with water. 

The paper is carefully bunched up and squeezed out for a long time.
Water is added and it is kneaded and even thrown against the floor or table to 
force the fibers to bond. The paper should form tiny pin holes that give it transparency.
The artist can continue this process until the paper is the desired consistency.

The paper is spread out to dry. It could be re-wet and continued at a later time.
This was my first try at Joomchi!

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