Island Designs - hand made paper at Arts in the Park, Belfast
Chong emigrated to the US from Korea when he was thirteen. Before long, he graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a major in printmaking and moved with his wife Judi to Massachusetts. There he worked for a company creating plates to emboss names and logos inside shoes as well as plates for greeting cards, perfume boxes and other applications.
Eventually, Chong and Judi moved to Great Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine to start a business creating plates for similar applications. A chance suggestion by an island neighbor prompted Chong and Judi to carve a metal plate to make their Christmas cards that year.
Their art is a real team effort. Chong does the designing. From the original idea he makes the working drawings and carves the design into a metal plate. Judi also studied printmaking and painting in college. She does the presswork (the actual embossing and coloring). She also makes some of the paper they use and marbles other papers as well.
Our primary focus is embossed and handmade paper. We create the original design, carve metal plates and emboss each piece in our studio. We also do all our own framing and make many of the homemade papers that we use. Our images are highly representational, sometimes bordering on surreal, with a style somewhere between Eastern and Western. The emphasis is on clean, fine, and delicate detail.
We believe that we are preserving centuries-old traditions of metal-plate engraving and paper embossing. We use machinery, equipment and technologies from an earlier period in our history. Our artwork is available at Island Artisans galleries in both Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, Maine and at major art and fine-craft shows in the Northeast and Midwest. In addition, select items are offered for sale through this web site.
Chong and Judi will be at Arts in the Park, Belfast on July 12 and 13.