Joo Young (Grace) Han is one of those extremely talented young women, a rising star in Canadian ceramics. Raised in South Korea, Han graduated with her BFA from Dankook University where she studied traditional Korean ceramics. There she watched the master potter, Joon Hoon Park, while making hundreds of Korean tea bowls, sambal, a day. For seven years, Han worked to perfect her ceramic skills including the making of the large jars for fermented vegetables, the Onngi. In 2011, Han moved to the Canadian prairies. The image above is a still from an upcoming CBC special on Han. In 2016, Han graduated with an MFA from the School of Art, University of Manitoba. There, for two years, she worked tirelessly in her studio asking herself many, many questions. Am I Korean? Am I Canadian? Where is my voice? Her thesis exhibition focused on those binaries as does the photo above.
The Manitoba Arts Council recognized Han’s artistic excellence by awarding her their major grant of $30,000 this past week. It is rare for a ceramic artist to achieve such recognition so early in their career. MAC not the only one, however! Han will be part of the Banff’s Centre’s Clay Revival Residency from June 3-July 7 and she will also have a solo exhibition at Medalta. Well done, Grace.
For a more detailed discussion of Han’s struggle with her identity and the male world of Korean ceramics, see my article in the current issue of New Ceramics, ‘Joo Young Han. One Path, Two Identities, pp 13-15 (2/18).
The first is news of a really big event. The last two weeks of June, Master Potter Markus Boehm from Germany will be with us. For years I have been advocating for a wood kiln that was for the students, one that could be fired by a single person achieving the level of ash that would put a smile on your face without using so much wood and without having to be fired for 46 hours. Well, we are going to build it! A state of the art smokeless Bourry Box kiln that will reach cone 14 in 14 hours using only two cubic metres of hardwood logs. Honestly, you can knit a sweater while firing this kiln. Good for one person, great for a group, too. I will be putting out the call for 10 workshop participants. It will be 10 days and will include a firing. I need individuals who are keen to learn how to put German engineering into wood kiln design and who are not afraid of long days, sweating, learning a heck of a lot, and walking away with some nice wood fired pieces. Final dates and workshop costs will be forthcoming.
Bob Archambeau has been with the School of Art for 50 Years. In the late fall, the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba will be holding a retrospective of Archambeau and his work. I will be curating this special exhibition and will be looking for work of Bob’s dating from 1968 to 2008 as well as historic photographs and great stories about Bob as a teacher and potter to go into the catalogue. Stay tuned as Paul Hess and I work towards finalizing dates.
Ceramics Club at the University of Manitoba will be holding their spring sale in mid-April. Watch this site for dates and times.
And two articles of mine were published. One features Joo Young Han (Grace Han), Onnghi Master and recent MFA graduate from the School and is in the latest edition of New Ceramics (Neue Keramik) and Markus Boehm: East German Master Potter Adapts to Changes since the fall of the wall in Ceramics: Art and Perception. Also, Grace Han will be featured on a short documentary by the CBC. I will try to get the dates and times it will be shown. Congratulations Grace!
Joo Young (Grace) Han graduated with a BFA from Dankook University in South Korea, an art faculty that focused on traditional Korean ceramics. It was at Dankook that Han learned by observing the master, Joon Hoon Park, and by throwing hundreds of Korean tea bowls, known as sabal, daily. Over time, she became proficient in using the Onngi wheel to create the large earthenware vessels used to store water and fermented food such as kimchi. From 2004-2011 Han continued to perfect her ceramic skills before moving to Canada. On June 3, 2016, five years after arriving on the Canadian prairies, Han graduated with her MFA. She struggled throughout her graduate studies to find her own voice, somewhere in the middle of being a traditional Korean potter and a new Canadian studying pottery in a Western tradition. Today she is one of the rising stars in Canadian ceramics.
Since her graduation she has been a resident at the Medalta potteries, her work has been selected for the International Exhibition at Mashiko and was shown at the First Craft Biennale in Toronto. She has taught for the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. Her class on onggi making was a huge success. Han is spending December 2017 in Korea studying reduction cooling in wood firing.