Kim Seong Tae is a Korean ceramic master who has his own studio and is the owner of Seongwol Ceramics which is located in Icheon, South Korea. I actually saw his work while traveling in Korea, and so I researched this artist more. The clip is from when he was featured in a dedication showcase which included four other Korean ceramic masters in the the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). He is known for using layers of slip and cutting into the clay to create a layered effect with colors, and he enjoys cutting out shapes in his pots for decoration and balance. He also works with celadon and recreates those traditional asian-inspired ceramic pieces that are delicate and beautiful in their simplicity.
Paul Soldner was born on April 24, 1921 in Summerfield, Illinois, and passed away on January 3rd, 2011. Soldner was an American ceramic artist who experimented with the Japanese technique called raku. He was responsible for mixing both cultures and creating a fusion of techniques which he added to such as methods of firing and post firing. Raku ware is essentially a type of Japanese pottery that was used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. They are characterized by being hand-shaped and they are made from low firing temperatures, lead glazes and they remove the pieces from the kiln while they are still hot, which shocks the pieces. Then Soldner developed the technique of placing the pieces in a container filled with combustible material making the practice contemporary as well. Soldner also added color by reduction smoking to the pieces. Then dipped into either cold water to create an oxidized effect and the effects can be quite spontaneous.
In the spirit of raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discover of the unknown.
Salt firing is a vapor-glazing process in which salt or, if we’re being fancy, sodium chloride is being added into the kiln when its extremely hot. This is an amazing technique that only requires a small change in the firing process, and the piece itself turns out completely different than the average ceramic bowl or vase. The salt vaporizes, and the sodium vapor combines with the silica that is in the clay, and it forms a sort of hard, sodium glaze. The colors of these vases can be a variety of colors ranging from blue (cobalt oxide), reddish-brown (iron oxide), or even purple (from manganese oxide). The texture and look of these pieces may be the most charming aspect, as it is said that the effect that the salt has on them is sort of like an “onion-peel” texture or an “orange-peel” texture. Just another example as how something so ordinary as table salt can transform a ceramic piece to make it look more abstract, colorful, and texturized.
Valeria Nascimento is a ceramic artist who focuses on the detail of her pieces. She draws her inspiration from the world that surrounds us, the energy of the world, and from nature. I was incredibly awed by the fine detail work in her pieces, and I was surprised to find out that these pieces were even ceramic at all! They have a fabric feel to them, almost as if the folds were cloth, or paper, and definitely not made of clay. Her pieces have lots of movement and I feel that the audience’s eyes are drawn to certain areas of her pieces. Her work reminds me of chocolate curls that one would find on a fancy and beautiful cake, which helps me to mold both forms of art into one. The techniques that are used in order to create such delicate little folds can be reminiscent of those from other art forms and I plan on mixing different aspects of different areas of art into my project as well. I do not know how successful I will be in doing so, but I will definitely try.
Korean celadon, which originates from China, is characterized by its distinct and beautiful blue-green color. In Korean, it is usually referred to as “cheongja,” which literally means blue-green porcelain. I know, revolutionary.
The cheongja is most prized for its calming and captivating pure color, which is said to be more beautiful the more one looks at it. Its glassy finish and jade like quality is what entices the eyes of its viewers and critics.
These celadon works are often confused with other types of green-glazed ceramics, but one way to look for a cheongja is by its distinctive line of fine cracks called “crazing.”
At first, I believed this technique to be flaws in the pottery, but it is apparently achieved by careful firing in the kiln. Traditional cheongja is fired for a longer period of time than modern pieces of pottery, and due to that fact, many of the pieces are cracked or broken due to the heat before they even finish firing. Each celadon piece of art is carefully selected by the individual potters who scrutinize their work with utmost severity in order to present only their finest examples of beautiful celadon.
Another technique that is commonly used by Korean celadon potters is the art of inlaying. Inlaid celadon is made by incising the desired motifs onto the surface of a vessel and filling in the area with white or red slip (clay mixture) before applying the glaze. After firing, the white slip remains the same color while the red slip turns black.
Every step of inlaying must be perfect; the slip must not be too slippery or too thick, the incisions must not be too deep or the color will be uneven, and if the pot is heated for even a minute too long, the pot will shatter. Inlay work can be as simple as a single flower on a celadon pot, or it can be made into an extremely intricate design that only skilled artisans can create.
Korean celadon pottery has always interested me, ever since I read a book called “A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park in the third grade. I always found its aesthetics to be extremely beautiful and unique as only extremely skillful artists can produce well made celadon vases and pots, and I would say it is a bit far-fetched to think that I can ever make such a beautiful piece of art. However, when we begin to create glazes, the first color that I am going for will definitely be, without a doubt, a green-blue glaze.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination -Henry David Thoreau