chin jukan pottery
Path with Chin Jukan Pottery
I make ceramic works from a small studio in Seoul, Korea. It is indeed a personal operation; I beat the clay, throw the wheel, and wish for the colors I see in my mind to come out from the firing. I am at constant search of the frail balance of forms and texture, but I have always let the materials speak through, and my hands to follow its nature. I make functional ware, and finding it more interesting in making non-forced shapes, to encourage the natural form to come out as if you can still feel the handwork that was put into the making.
Like people’s unique handwriting, I realize that in my ceramic works too show traces of my body’s memory, my characteristics and habits all alike. I remember resting my chin in my hands often, while trying to balance out my physical strain and to withhold the state of uncertainty in general. That was a gesture of overwhelmed soul, resting in two palms which I was given.
The CHIN JUKAN POTTERY series I worked on also are based on the form I shaped out from the clay, not from the drawn out plan or a sketch.
<Pearl> is a shallow bowl where I pulled out the clay to its max when I was throwing on the wheel. Due to its thin body, whenever I adjust its shape, my hands will finish the piece into an oval.
<Bloom> has more depth, a rounder form. The clay's natural force to blossom on the wheel while my hand creating a soft containing space, it resulted in this form where it could hold various things. My hands will give the bowl an unbalanced deformation which adds a spout like angle. In consequence, the form in balance of the <acceptance> and <sharing> is born.
<Pearl> and <Bloom> were anomalistic shapes so there were concerns in ways to stack up when storing. I thought to make a nesting scales so that it will be up to the users whether to align them accordingly to its sizes or not. I would be happy to see how people interpret the shapes and scale.
<Half Moon> refers to the form of the shape of the moon. I always like to find the different shapes of the moon in the sky, but you will soon start to realize that the moon shapes are also found in different places. Like how leaves, petals, fruit seeds and river rocks will carry a hidden moon, I hope you will find the harmony between <Half Moon>, <Pearl> and <Bloom>, and to enjoy their composition like a kaleidoscope.
<Pod> is a ceramic jar with a lid. It is a fun thought while resting the hand on the twist lid to imagine about all the things you will put in here. I would like to refer to this more as an organic "pod" (like pea pod) than a static "container".
I started working with clay at 20, and I realize that it has been 2 decades since then. I have always continued my creation through that time, in different places and different environments, and it was always the clay that absorbed all my inner strain and exterior impacts that helped me through this journey.
The Satsuma Ware artisans’ effort and endurance they’ve been through over the generations is nothing I can compare to with my 20 years of experience in pottery. The intricate decoration skills seen in Satsuma Ware, and the warmth of its basis material the white clay, as well as the Kuro Satsuma (black Satsuma Ware)’s tenacious character are all but <pure> product, but the result of <accepting all the contradictions> which shows the profound and generous nature of this kiln and its artisans.
The “CHIN JUKAN POTTERY” series that I was part of, did not initiate in the sketch or a plan. The prototype was set in the form that my handwork bore, using the clay unique to Satsuma Ware. These are in a way my clay babies, reflecting my personal experiences and embraced by the 400 years worth of skills in Satsuma Ware tradition. I feel truly fortunate in partaking in the launch of “CHIN JUKAN POTTERY” series, from Miyama, Kagoshima today.
Hyejeong Kim, 2010
Chin Jukan Pottery
In the south of Japan, Kagoshima, we have been preserving the tradition of pottery kiln fire for over 400 years. At a time when Kagoshima was called "Satsuma", our founder came here from The Korean Peninsula, traveling through the rough waves of Genkai Nada ocean. Despite the sad fact of history that the founder was brought here under captivity, it did not stop him from giving everything to the art, and eventually establish the "Satsuma Ware" in which he grew to consider his new homeland. Since then, generations of masters have searched for skills and beauty of the fired objects, and have worked hard to preserve them, right here in Satsuma. While pursuing the tradition's purity have often pushed us over into the oblivion of the 400 years worth of time space, we certainly made ourselves the grounded "light tower", but meanwhile it meant that we were not the mobile "ship" that would see the world. The encounter with Shinichiro Nakahara and Hyejeong Kim two years ago told us how we could become the "ship" also. Sailing out, and when we looked aback to the land, and saw our symbolic "light tower", we realized what our missions were. Where would this ship sail to with their affection and compassion on board. I would like to express a deep gratitude for this ship's exciting departure.
Chin Jukan the 15th
Chin Jukan(Shim Soo Kwan) Kiln
A brief history of Satsuma Ware
In 1597, the 17th Lord of the Satsuma Clan, Yoshihiro SHIMAZU, took up the war against Korea for the second time. A year later, approximately 80 Korean potters were brought back alongside SHIMAZU, and half of them settled in Shimabara in Kushikino area. Among them was Dang Kil, coming from the distinguished Shim family of Kyongsangbukudo Cheong Song, that once the family member wed to become the Empress Consort of Sejong of the Fourth Li Dynasty. In 1603, Shim Dang Kil relocated from Kushikino to the village of Naeshirogawa, and went on to establish the Naeshirogawa Ware Kiln in 1605. 18 years later, by the order of the Satsuma Clan, Shim Dang Kil was said to have found the Chine a (white) clay with his colleague Park Pyung Eui, and went on to develop what we refer to as Satsuma Ware today. For approximately 400 years, Shim family have passed on the mastery through generations, literary from fathers to sons, whom all have lived amidst the Satsuma legacy. As history progressed, the winds of change brought by the Meiji Restoration blew coldly over the potters of Naishirogawa, but Shim Soo Kwan the 12th, then serving the 28th Lord of Satsuma, Nariakira SHIMAZU, was allowed to send a pair of large flower vases to World Exposition in Austria in 1873. The artistry of Shim the 12th was immediately recognized by the international audience and subsequently opened up trade paths for Satsuma Ware to Austria, Russia, America, and other countries and made Satsuma Ware the pronoun of the Japanese ceramics. In 1875 as the Satsuma Clan's support system shunned, Shim Soo Kwan the 12th took all the aspects (including financially) of the kiln to his own and devoted himself to the restoration of Satsuma Ware by enforcing independent management. Playing a leading role for other producers, while overcoming adversary and weathering this period of confusion, he was regarded as the restorer of modern Satsuma Ware. Couple generations down, Shim Soo Kwan the 14th is known as a main character in Ryotaro SHIBA's novel "The Heart Remembers Home." He exhibited a large flower vase at the Osaka World Exposition in 1970 and subsequently showcased the "Shim Soo Kwan Exhibitions" which traveled throughout Japan. In January of 1999, his son Kazuteru Osako, took on the name Shim Soo Kwan the 15th, who carries out his family tradition of ceramic art to this day.
4F maruya gardens, 6-5 Gofukumachi, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima 892-0826 Japan
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