Koreans sparkle at the Goldsmiths Fair

by Philip Gowman on 15 October, 2009 updated 14 December, 2017

in Crafts | Design | Event Notices | Event reports and reviews | Exhibition reviews and comment | Koreans in UK

The Goldsmith’s Fair is an annual show of some of the best designers and craftspeople in the jewellery and metalwork business, in the livery hall of the City of London’s oldest established guild. Every year, with around 80 stalls to choose from, there is a stunning range of items to view, many of which are surprisingly affordable. Many of these more affordable pieces are created by young jewellers and metalworkers at the start of their career. This year, there were ten recent graduates who were given the opportunity to show (and sell) their work alongside more established names. Of these, two were Korean. And joining them was a more established craftsman.

Misun Won

Misun Won

Misun Won is a recent graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Jewellery & Silversmithing. Her current speciality is working in single sheets of silver which she cuts, solders, bends and shapes into a patchwork of small disks arranged in different angles and planes, which catch the light whichever way you are looking at it. These she makes into brooches, necklaces and rings, sometimes in combination with precious and semi-precious stones. The design is an explicit reference to the Korean jogakpo patchwork patterns which feature on wrapping cloths and clothes. As well as the irregular, seemingly random patterns of the silver disks, some of her pieces incorporate the regular geometric shapes generated by filography. Won’s work can also be seen at Somerset House this week.

09 Random Brooch12 Pearl & Red Thread Pendant

Works by Misun Won

Serena Park

Serena Park

Serena (Kyung-hyun) Park has just graduated from Central St Martin’s. Her work combines traditional goldsmithing with glasswork – which involved her splitting her time between two separate workshops at St Martins. On display at the Fair was a wide range of objects – little perfume flasks wrapped in a finely-worked gold basket, a bold necklace with turquoise Murano-style glass, curvy-shaped rings in matt gold embedded with small glass fragments, and, possibly the most unusual item, the cutest little pillbox hat made out of blown glass. Held on by a small piece of elastic, it sat at a jaunty angle on Park’s head as she modelled it. Her work aims at a harmony, “a harmony between the different materials of glass, gemstones, and precious metal, and also the attunement of Nature with the human body”.

Serena ringsSerena silver ring

Works by Serena Park

William Lee

William Lee

William (Sang-hyeob) Lee has now been in the UK for 12 years – long enough to qualify for nationality, and indeed he will shortly be taking the solemn oath in front of Kingston Council. In his time in the UK, Lee has worked with Anthony Gormley, and has had his work exhibited at Aspreys and the V&A. His work has explicit Korean influence: his major pieces are silver versions of the classic ceramic vase shapes from the Choson dynasty. His moon vases, for example, are made from a single disk of silver 50cm in diameter by 3mm thick. This is raised into a traditional sized moon vase around 50 cm in diameter. At the equator, the vase is maybe 0.5mm thick. I discretely ask the price tag for one of these. Around £20,000, if I remember correctly. Not bad when you consider that Park Young-sook’s contemporary ceramic versions have a price tag of $30,000 – $40,000. “How much?” he asks, genuinely shocked. “And if you drop hers, it’s broken for good. If you drop mine, I can mend it for you”. He has two moon vases on display, and it has to be said that the matt sheen on one, and the bright multi-faceted sparkle of the other, give at least as much pleasure as the pure white of the ceramic versions which are available from many potters’ studios. Lee also produces smaller versions and vases in other traditional shapes all of which have a wonderful tactile quality – indeed, Lee is always keen for people to feel his work – and are extremely covetable.

Lee’s work is already getting noticed, and it is to be hoped that the work of the two younger exhibitors meet with a similar amount of success.

Copper MaebyungHoribyung

Works by William Lee

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Facebook Feedback October 15, 2009 at 9:48 pm
  • Owen: William Lee’s works are impressive – I was there with my sister who is a jeweller and she was just agog at how much silver he uses.

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