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Hanji Workshop at the New Korean Cultural Center in Kuwait

Over the weekend my daughter and I visited the new Korean Cultural Center in Sharq, Kuwait City, which recently opened it’s doors inside Kamco Tower in May 2023

The center is called Madang which means ‘traditional courtyard’ in Korean, and it houses several class rooms and offices that host arts and crafts workshops as well as Korean language courses. It’s a really nice-looking place and because they are still brand new, there are several programs and activities underway.

They also have a library filled with children’s book in Korean.

I had booked the Hanji Craftswork workshop and my daughter came a long with me. Hanji is the traditional handmade paper of Korea, and it is made from the inner bark of the mulberry which is a tree native to Korea.

Mulberry Tree

In this workshop, we were going to use this paper to decorate a traditional tray.

The supplies, which consist of water glue, brush, tape, tray die-cut, hanji paper

We were first given a brief video introduction on the history and art of Hanji.

Hanji paper is made by extracting the tree bark, soaking it, boiling it, and beating it until it forms a pulp.
My daughter was given some paper with Korean images to colour in

We started the workshop by first assembling the tray using tape. Then, we used the ready-made cut outs of hanji paper to brush the glue onto the tray until it was completely covered in Hanji. It sounds simple, but it was a little tricky ensuring that the paper adheres smoothly and evenly across the tray. If there was any excess paper that needed to be cut, we were advised to tear it rather than cut it in order to give the tray a handmade appearance.

Because we used water glue we could also brush it all over so that the paper adheres clings well to the tray, acting like a lacquer which gives it a nice finishing in the end.

The activity itself reminded me of decoupaging, which is the art of decorating an object by gluing together colourful patterns of paper.

The instructor assisting us
The tray was then placed next to a fan to dry.

These traditional Hanji trays are used for storing snacks like biscuits and chocolate, or can be propped vertically like a frame on a shelf.

This was a nice experience and I loved that my daughter and I got to do our first workshop together!


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