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Korean style paper

Last updated: 5th April 2016

Cleveland, United States

Korean style paper produced at the Morgan Conservatory's Anne F. Eiben Hanji Studio, the only one of its kind in North America.

  • I

    Paper mulberry trees

    Paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) trees are cultivated at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio, where they are harvested every November and processed by hand for papermaking.

    Paper mulberry trees, originally from East Asia, are now growing in Cleveland at the Morgan Conservatory

    Paper mulberry trees, originally from East Asia, are now growing in Cleveland at the Morgan Conservatory

    Cleveland, United States

    • Cleaned fiber, soaking in water before cooking (this is Philippine gampi fiber, also used in Asian papermaking)

      Cleaned fiber, soaking in water before cooking (this is Philippine gampi fiber, also used in Asian papermaking)

      Cleveland, United States

    • Stripped bark needs to be scraped by hand to remove the outer layers and reveal the inner white bark

      Stripped bark needs to be scraped by hand to remove the outer layers and reveal the inner white bark

      Cleveland, United States

    • Steaming shoots so that the outer bark pulls away from the inner woody core

      Steaming shoots so that the outer bark pulls away from the inner woody core

      Cleveland, United States

    • Year-old growth is cut down and trimmed to fit into the steaming cauldron

      Year-old growth is cut down and trimmed to fit into the steaming cauldron

      Cleveland, United States

    • Tom Balbo harvests paper mulberry during winter rest

      Tom Balbo harvests paper mulberry during winter rest

      Cleveland, United States

  • II

    Fiber processing and preparation

    This bast fiber needs further processing (cooking, rinsing, picking, beating) to prepare for the vat.

    All stripped bark, raw as well as scraped, is bundled and hung to dry and store

    All stripped bark, raw as well as scraped, is bundled and hung to dry and store

    Cleveland, United States

    • Hot water is mixed with wood ash to create a lye to cook the bark, neutralizing the pH with its gentle alkalinity

      Hot water is mixed with wood ash to create a lye to cook the bark, neutralizing the pH with its gentle alkalinity

      Cleveland, United States

    • Rinsed and cooked bark is picked by hand, strand by strand, to remove any remaining impurities and discoloration

      Rinsed and cooked bark is picked by hand, strand by strand, to remove any remaining impurities and discoloration

      Cleveland, United States

    • Clean, cooked fiber is beaten by hand for at least an hour to reduce long bark to a pulp

      Clean, cooked fiber is beaten by hand for at least an hour to reduce long bark to a pulp

      Cleveland, United States

    • Clean, cooked fiber is beaten by hand for at least an hour to reduce long bark to a pulp

      Clean, cooked fiber is beaten by hand for at least an hour to reduce long bark to a pulp

      Cleveland, United States

    • The naginata "beater" is a machine that gently pulls apart long fibers in the last stage of fiber preparation. This is the only stainless steel naginata in the U.S., commissioned by the Morgan Conservatory and built by David Reina

      The naginata "beater" is a machine that gently pulls apart long fibers in the last stage of fiber preparation. This is the only stainless steel naginata in t...

      Cleveland, United States

    • Hand beaten fiber enters the naginata machine for a final brushing

      Hand beaten fiber enters the naginata machine for a final brushing

      Cleveland, United States

    • Before any papermaking happens, a gooey formation aid must be mixed from crystalline powder (PMP), or made from the roots of a flowering plant that we cultivate in Cleveland (Abelmoschus manihot)

      Before any papermaking happens, a gooey formation aid must be mixed from crystalline powder (PMP), or made from the roots of a flowering plant that we cultiv...

      Cleveland, United States

  • III

    Sheet formation and finishing

    The Korean tradition involves vigorous vat work, pressing, parting, and drying sheets

    Sheet formation and finishing

    Cleveland, United States

    • In the Korean tradition, a flexible bamboo screen supported by a wood frame, suspended over the vat, is dipped multiple times in various directions to create a strong, thin sheet

      In the Korean tradition, a flexible bamboo screen supported by a wood frame, suspended over the vat, is dipped multiple times in various directions to create...

      Cleveland, United States

    • The bamboo screen is placed carefully on top of previous sheets to couch (lay down) the fresh sheet

      The bamboo screen is placed carefully on top of previous sheets to couch (lay down) the fresh sheet

      Cleveland, United States

    • A couching log helps smooth away air bubbles and encourage the new sheet to adhere to the paper below

      A couching log helps smooth away air bubbles and encourage the new sheet to adhere to the paper below

      Cleveland, United States

    • The bamboo screen is removed while the new wet sheet stays below on the growing post of paper

      The bamboo screen is removed while the new wet sheet stays below on the growing post of paper

      Cleveland, United States

    • The wet stack of paper is pressed in a hydraulic jack press to remove excess water before parting and drying

      The wet stack of paper is pressed in a hydraulic jack press to remove excess water before parting and drying

      Cleveland, United States

    • Threads laid down during the couching process are removed one by one after pressing to help part sheets, two at a time, for strong laminated (2-ply) paper

      Threads laid down during the couching process are removed one by one after pressing to help part sheets, two at a time, for strong laminated (2-ply) paper

      Cleveland, United States

    • Sheets are parted damp, two at a time for strong laminated (2-ply) paper, before drying

      Sheets are parted damp, two at a time for strong laminated (2-ply) paper, before drying

      Cleveland, United States

    • Damp sheets are brushed onto flat surfaces to dry

      Damp sheets are brushed onto flat surfaces to dry

      Cleveland, United States

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