Ceramic for me, is something fragile but strong, simple but complex, deep but light, soft and warm. It is a stony and cold object as if it is timeless, subtle and tranquil, yet it still shows the volcanic memory of its formation.
I especially enjoy working on a wheel. I love throwing pots because it is fascinating to get into traversing the forces of centripetal and centrifugal. That dynamism on a wheel creates forms.
I always feel wonderful to be in the centre of movements during the throwing as you can see the spontaneous changes in shape of clay, while felling no restrictions whatsoever. The sense of freedom actually opens up clay forms and myself.
Unlike most other activities in my daily life, making pots never allows me to escape from who I really am. It shows my good and bad sides, where I am being conscious or missing out, how I tend to do things, and so on. It is indeed a creative journey that has stimulation, excitement, and contemplation on its way.
Does a fine cup make tea taste different? My answer must be yes, unless you are insensitive. Making good functional ceramics has been a big challenge for me. The tableware I make is simple but it has close attention to functionality and detail, and it is easy to live with.
Simplicity and tranquility may be the most outstanding characters of my work. I believe that a pot can be a multi-sensual implement in our daily life. With its touch, colour, shape, weight, texture, sound and way it contains taste and fragrance. It speaks to our senses and inspires us to be more conscious for the moments in our life.
The majority of techniques that I have developed are derived from Chinese, Korean and Japanese traditional pottery. I intend to create contemporary ceramics based upon my own cultural tradition and to promote the aesthetic and artistic quality that such traditions produce.
The Ideals
In abstract terms, my work is an aesthetic representation of meditation to be functionally and practically applied in daily life.
Making pottery, to me, is a ritual of meditation that takes in my own journey to finding peace and reaching the state of awareness. The act of potting presents such ritual actions: the preparation of the materials, the throwing of the clay, the observing of transformation, the expectation and anticipation while firing, and the accepting and agreeing with the outcomes. Pots, to me, are the outcomes of the ritualistic ceremony and have spiritual essence in their form and existence alone.
In the hands that utilize my pots, whether in a serene moment of tea, or in watering of flowers, or appreciating a fragrant meal, my pots are designed to serve as instruments and means of finding peace and awareness of the users.
The Aesthetics
Much of the aesthetic and functional elements take their inspiration mostly from my bi-cultural background. In the course of struggles and discovery of my unique cultural identity (having equally Korean and Japanese cultures) I've learned to develop ways to input self identity and cultural values by bringing into the work, traditional elements of practicality and implementing the beauty of nature as interpreted by both cultures.
The most unique and characteristic idea of pottery traditions in Japan and Korea, would be to find beauty in the things that are rather imperfect and distorted in beings.
The very well-known, but still the most mysterious Japanese aesthetics such as Wabi-Sabi, or Zen can only be possibly be touched (but not understood), if one stays in desolation, and remains in humour at the same time.
The pots from Japan and Korea are almost human in their beauty, full of further insights, in stark comparison to Chinese pottery's imperial beauty.
The Techniques
The pots I produce are modernly simple in shape and take classical forms with minimal decoration. Decorative designs, usually in the form of dimples, nipples, ears, holes, and handles, complete the pieces and make them more body-conscious and movement-conscious. Presently, added with 7 years of experience in the UK, my works have become a more interesting and complex form of the hybrid of cultures that construct me.
The major techniques and the developed glazes originate from China, Korea and Japan. Various combinations of clays and glazes are used and applied.
The pots then undergo several ranges of firing methods (up to cone 9 or 10 in either a reduction or oxidization kiln atmosphere) to achieve just the right depth to give the surface the intended transparency, crazing, richness, and subtlety of colour.