This porcelain tableware by Korean maker Ko Hee Sook really is something special. I especially like her take on classic shapes such as teapots and cups. We’ve showcased a number of fantastic porcelain artists throughout the years including Takeshi Yasuda and more recently sculptor Yoon Sol. Both are very different but manipulate porcelain in a playful way and Ko Hee Sook in-particular figures out the structure of her pots much like an industrial designer would, all of them being casted and then finished by hand.
Once she’s gone through the first firing phase she hand finishes all the objects before glaze firing in a gas reduction kiln. They are perfected after they emerge from the kiln, she painstakingly polishes them with diamond abrasive pads creating an exquisite satin matte finish which sets off the celadon glaze nicely. To me the high quality surface makes you want to pick them up, there’s no doubt that these shapes are aesthetically pleasing but they’re obviously very tactile as well from looking at these photographs. It’s probably no surprise that before entering grad school, Hee Sook spent a year working in a Japanese factory which designed and produced fine porcelain tableware. Working with Japanese masters Koie Uchi and Urie Masahiro gave her a great deal of insight into the possibilities of casting as a flexible and responsive tool for producing multiples of the crisp and strong vessels that she enjoys designing. Today she carries on this technique at her ultramodern studio which she shares with her husband Lee Jong Suk, also a ceramist, in a beautiful rural valley south of Seoul.
In my opinion, the clear sky-blue-coloured glaze which is applied to the vessels interior really makes the pure white porcelain walls stand out. It’s almost like looking inside a natural spring, especially in the above photo with these porcelain bowls that really pull your eye in. Although she was inspired by the quality of Japanese production, that which she believes to be the best in the world, her own work is essentially driven by the long Korean tradition of luminous porcelain. I hope you enjoy these photos and they inspire you to think about the process of slipcasting yourself. Although it may seem limiting at first thought, the benefits are obvious for all to see.