Idea

My ideas come from viewing sensitive and minute details that occur naturally in nature. Korea has four distinct seasons and my artwork reflects the four different times of the year. My studio is in forested hills of the country side, so nature is presented to me in all her splendid glory.

Clay

I use clay as a canvas to express what I see in raw, pure, nature. The clay is produced for me and is made without iron. I let the clay rest for about 6 months before I use it. When the clay becomes moldy, I knead I just as one would knead bread. I repeat this process several times. The clay becomes elastic with texture and I am able to mold my artwork into the shape I desire before I begin “painting on my canvas”

Wheel Throwing

I bond the lump of clay to the wheel when I throw it. I turn the wheel slowly and I control the thickness of the walls of the piece I am making. The walls of my artwork are naturally thick due to the weakness of the clay but the true thickness of the wall is determined by the depth of the carving I will do on the piece. The crown of my artwork is made with an object that resembles a small straw. The small hole raises the sense of existence of traditional ceramic artwork and controls the function. I make a mold that will match the dryness state of my art piece so I can make the bottom of my art work match my design. I normally make 10 forms of various sizes. After slicing a form from the wheel, I clean the base and then allow the forms to dry for about 2 months. I will choose one or two forms based on my ideas of the carving I will do.

Carving

To begin my carving, I draw a curved line from top to bottom. Then using precise spaces, i draw another line again from the top to the bottom. I make my carvings between the pre-set lines and the nature inside me that inspired my idea for the piece flows through my hands onto the canvas. I start from the top as I carve downward but I circle the entire piece with carvings, each time making more depth into the form. This process will be repeated many times until I reach my desired depth. The angles of my carvings are determined by the directions of light shining on the form. The different angles of the light from the carving will be viewed as different depths and shadows. This allows my artwork to be viewed differently depending upon the view as seen from a person’s eyes.

First Burning

My kiln is gas fired and has 14 burners. My first burning is called “Flower of Fire”. I open the door and put my piece and/or pieces inside. I light only four burners and leave the door half open until a temperature of 130ºC is reached. This allows for the moisture, in my piece and/or pieces, and the humidity in the air to vaporize naturally. At this point, I turn on all the burners and I gradually increase the temperature to 900ºC. When 900ºC is reached, I turn off all the burners and the piece and/or pieces remain in the kiln until room temperature is reached, about 2 days. The inside of the kiln is impeccably clean prior to any burning.

Glazing

I mix my glazing mixture in a large bowl. I strain the mixture with a fine wire mesh to remove any impurities. I spray the glaze mixture onto the form several times to ensure consistency over the form. The mixture soaks into the piece and then I spend two to three days removing the excess glaze from the formations of the carvings on the piece so the thickness of the glaze is the same throughout the piece.

Second Burning

After the glazing and cleaning of my artwork, two to three pieces are put into the kiln and four burners are lit. The temperature is raised to 170ºC and during this time I control the soot from the gas by using the oxygen inlets. The gas pressure is increased until 950ºC is reached. Now, the oxygen valves are fully opened and the glazed pieces oxidize and have a transparent bluish hue to them. The temperature is gradually raised to 1270ºC and at this point the burners are turned off. During the burning process the pieces will shrink about 25%. The pieces will remain inside the kiln for about three days. This entire process allows for about a 70% success rate for my artwork.

From start to finish, one piece takes well over one month to complete. During the entire process if at any time I lose my concentration on a piece, I will have to start all over again. I enjoy the mental stimulation during the process of making a piece and the pleasure of viewing my artwork when it is successfully completed. My artwork is a fusion of science, technique, good fortune, and artistic creativeness. The entire process from start to finish is a traditional process but each step is influenced by my vision of the piece upon completion. During the growth of my artwork as my life moves forward, my dedication and diligence is inspired by nature, is seen in my finished pieces.