Layer Upon Layer – Lacquer Vessels by Korean Artist Chung Hae-Cho


Some fantastic lacquer vessels by talented Korean artist Chung Hae-Cho. Born in 1945, Chung studied industrial art and wood craft, later becoming a teaching professor at Paichai University. He makes these superb looking forms by extracting sap from the ott-tree, a material which is unique to Korea and dates back to 300 B.C. The benefits of using this sap are the unique colours that one can achieve, as well as the final lustre left on the piece, something which is quite evident in these photographs here.

Alongside a few photos of his work I also embedded a quick video that highlights the process of making one of his vessel from start to finish. I was particularly taken aback by how he draws out the vessel first, almost as if he’s an architect. He starts by being inspired by a natural looking form, then mimicking this on styrofoam. After shaping it he applies the lacquer in various layers on top of the foam, often taking 6 months to complete one vessel.

I don’t want to spoil the video so I’ll let you go on and watch it for yourself. It’s quite brilliant how he can make such flowing looking shapes out of a static material like this. No doubt it’s from many years of experience and practice. Enjoy.