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Besides the doll project, book project and other zillion more that I have on queue, lately I’ve been working with paper.
I signed up for a class of Joomchi at the OCAC . Joomchi is a way to make traditional Korean paper and has been around for hundreds of years. It’s a labor intensive method in which several layers of mulberry paper or “Hanji” are combined into one after agitating them for hours BY HAND. Yes, you have to knead a roll of paper for 3, 4, 6 hours… Depending on who you are, it can be a relaxing activity or a form of auto torture. Winking smile
Joomchi paper is so hard and durable, it can last a thousand years, and in Korea is used to make traditional dresses. You can also use it for other utilitarian objects, like handbags, lamps, toys, etc., or simply to create art work. I was interested in making joomchi clothes for my African dolls, since you can make color combinations along with an amazing texture and then sew the paper as you will do a piece of fabric. There is a technic specially for this kind of joomchi or “felted paper”. But also there are other forms that are more suitable for art objects.
Jiyoung Chung is a Korean-American artist that inspired by joomchi, has brought this ancient technique to use it in her art and this patient and amazing woman taught us the basics of making joomchi, the rest is practice and experimentation.
I was able to finish two joomchi projects to learn the technique, and I came up with the idea of creating one inspired in Ethiopia. It didn’t come out quite as I planned it, since the Amharic symbols I wrote on the paper vanished during the process… Their “spirit” is there though. 
This is the result:

"Imagining Ethiopia" (25x16 inches) by Alicia Grinberg - joomchi 

It’s wonderful when you can combine two cultures into an art form.

I’m very interested in using this technique to make art that can look similar to the ancient Ethiopian manuscripts and scrolls.
For my second try at joomchi/Ethiopian art, I made a piece that borrows the imagery of the Ethiopian magic scrolls. Traditionally these scrolls were believed to hold protective and healing powers and were made with the skin of a sacrificed animal. Instead of using parchment as the medium, I made the scroll by hand using the technique of joomchi paper and then painted over it. I like the texture of the joomchi and the earthy colors.
Magic scrolls is a very interesting subject I will talk about soon, for now this is my first try at a joomchi version of an Ethiopian scroll:

Scroll #1 (17x11 inches) by Alicia Grinberg

Want to see or learn more about Joomchi?
These are some artists working with that technique:
Jiyoung Chung
Aimee Lee
Julie Weaverling
Sang-Jae Nam
Bronia Ichel

And these are two paper festivals in Korea (don’t miss the clothes made out of paper):
Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival
Wonju Hanji Festival

alicia
AliciA

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