Dog Days — Yun Gee Bradley
I Feel You, Hanji paper, 9″ x 12″, 2020
Contemplating, Hanji paper, 12″ x 9″, 2019
Looking at You, Hanji paper, 14″ x 11″, 2019
Take Me Home, Hanji paper, 12″ x 9″, 2019
Bobby (Commission), Hanji paper, 2019
Spot, Hanji paper, 10″ x 8″, 2019
What’s for dinner?, Hanji paper, 2019
Joy, Hanji paper, 10″ x 8″, 2021
It may sound strange to say but I am in love with Hanji, which means Korean paper. Hanji is made from the inner bark of mulberry trees.
When I work with Hanji, I become so intimate with the paper that I know its temperament. The paper tells me which way is best to shape it, what is best to lay it on, what it does or doesn’t like. It is soft but also quite tough — the characteristics I love about my friends.
I use paper and glue, and nothing else — no paint or pen, and usually no scissors. Instead, using tweezers or my hands, I pull each tiny fiber or strand from the Hanji paper and, following my project design, create outlines or shapes. My method requires a lot of time (several hundred hours per piece) and patience but while working, I find myself merging with the paper in a beautiful, creative meditation that fills me with peace and wonder. I never feel so much joy as when I am creating something with this paper.
About the Artist
Since elementary school, Yun Gee Bradley has loved making things, although she never asked her mother to buy art supplies because she did not think to do so; she simply used whatever could be found around the house. If she found a notebook, for example, she’d draw pretty girls and color them with her crayons; then, she’d cut them out, make clothes for them, glue together a wardrobe in which to put the clothes, and so on.
When she arrived to America in 1995, she bought a computer and started making flyers, brochures, and business cards for her friends. It made her happy to create things and help others.
When feng shui became popular, she discovered there were books and classes about interiors, colors, and crystal balls to hang on the ceiling — nothing like what she understood feng shui to be, given her background in Korea and Hong Kong. While she could acknowledge the importance of colors and interior designs, she also considered their use as akin to dressing up. So she decided to learn about authentic feng shui at Blue Mountain Institute (formerly, Blue Mountain Feng Shui Institute), and used the concepts she learned there to design logos and business cards. The flow of energy in everything made sense to her, and she used that energy in her graphic design work. In addition, Yun Gee Bradley taught feng shui and eventually became a consultant in feng shui for home and business, designing logos, business cards, and flyers for clients of the latter.
After she married, Yun Gee Bradley’s husband opened a jewelry shop at which they sold the custom pieces they made. Around that same time, Yun Gee Bradley’s 26-year-old son died, and her world collapsed. She lived in deep depression for approximately five years, until her husband’s encouragement and the music of a ukulele provided the healing power needed to bring her out of it. She realized she needed musical notes and chords to help her end her depression. Also, wanting something for her walls that would look more attractive than the plain note charts she found on the internet, Yun Gee Brandley designed her own, creating beautiful graphics that made her feel good. The graphics turned out so well that she eventually began selling them; subsequently, because of her son’s death, her personal struggle with depression, and the healing power of music, she began donating her prints to children’s music foundations.
Soon, Yun Gee Bradley discovered Hanji. Though she was born in Korea, she knew nothing of this traditional craft until her cousin introduced her to it. Traditional Hanji, which Yun Gee Bradley says she loves, is beautiful. The paper has as its characteristics both strength and flexibility, which are expressed in an old phrase: “Silk lasts for 500 years, Hanji lasts for even 1,000 years.” With Hanji paper, one can make paper textiles, traditional jewelry cases, dishes — even furniture! Wanting to learn more about the craft, Yun Gee traveled to Korea to work with an expert.
After returning to the United States, Yun Gee Bradley played with Hanji paper and developed her own technique, which she describes with the phrase, “Paper is my brush.”
Yun Gee Bradley has exhibited in “Conversation with Paper” (April 24, 2021 – May 28, 2020), at Gallery Fritz in Santa Fe, New Mexico; “Craftform 2019” (December 20, 2019 – February 2020), at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania; and “Paper Art Biennial” (September 10, 2019 – September 20, 2020), at Fengxian Museum International. In addition, she has shown work in the juried exhibition “Brand 47 Works on Paper” (September 7, 2019 -October 25, 2019) and exhibited at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (March 2, 2019 – April 27, 2019), Tacoma, Washington. She had a solo show at UCC in the spring of 2019.
Limited-edition prints of Yun Gee Bradley’s artworks are available for purchase.
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