Several years ago a friend introduced me to the Korean collage process called Joomchi or paper felting. The layered mulberry papers can become fabric-like and historically have been used as clothing by ancient peoples, a thrilling connection to the Ancients.
Often I am inspired by textures in the physical world, a poem, a phrase, a memory. I begin with a vague direction and assemble the papers. Things appear, disappear, resurface; transparency and translucency are important. Each Joomchi piece requires several hours of intensive work, as the papers are aggressively rolled, folded, squeezed, wadded up, kneaded. No adhesives are used. The papers are fused using only hand strength and water. While mulberry paper fibers are extremely strong, a very delicate balance of agitation and gentleness is required to preserve the integrity of the piece. Too much manipulation and the work can disintegrate; too little agitation and the papers do not coalesce: fragile yet resilient, the human condition. The simplicity of this process, water and hand strength, continues to delight me, along with its contrast to our ever-increasingly complex technological society.