Wish upon Jiseung

Eun Hye Kim

1 December 2015

Jiseung (paper string craft) is a traditional craft that began when during the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. The technique has been handed down through the mouth and hands with people. There are still handed down in such a way, and I also learned the basic skills through stories and hands of my teacher.

Jiseung uses hanji, a handmade paper of pulp from the bark of the paper mulberry tree. Sticky rice glue is applied as a waterproofing agent, and the pots can be coated with layers of lacquer made from the sap of the lacquer tree, the vapors of which can be quite poisonous.

There are few systematic training courses, books, studies, and relic materials for Jiseung. But the few remaining relics are a great help to me. For beautiful technical representation which the old shows adds new inspiration and enthusiasm for my work.

Although a variety of techniques (skills) are available, I stick to the basics. I think Jiseung is the best technology suited to the purity and warmth of traditional Korean Paper. I always empty my mind for the elaborateness of the work. Rather, I feel calm through work (it would be equal  a temple stay). Everything seen in my works is my mind (spirit): impressions and desires from life.

I do not sell my works. I make a special work if someone wants. It takes a lot of time because all work is done by hand without the use of tools. I make one or two a year. Works can be seen in the exhibition.

In the old days, mothers used a prayer bowl. She filled it with water, and prayed for the children and family. It was a bowl to put your wishes in. I made this bowl hoping that viewers would think, “What is my wish?” and put their wishes in it.


IMG_1158Eun Hye Kim lives and works in Kwangju, South Korea

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