2018 travel diary 2 – Chollipo revisited

10 November 2018. In Chollipo’s famous Arboretum the best of the Autumn colour had finished, but there were still some good reds, oranges and yellows to be found, and the grasses were particularly fine.

In October last year this new statue of Carl Ferris Miller, Chollipo’s founder, was installed in this secluded area in the arboretum. He seems to look very happy in his new spot, in a relaxed posture as he he enjoys surveying his creation.

A statue of Min Byeong-gal (Carl Ferris Miller) in his arboretum

Another addition since last year is this rather fun solid wood drum kit:

Wooden drum kit in Chollipo artboretum

The arboretum’s lake always provides scenic photo opportunities:

The building that houses the small museum on the history of the arboretum has a small coffee shop and also a gallery for temporary exhibitions. When I visited this year there was an exhibition of ceramics by Kim Sun Mee. I was immediately drawn to her work (so drawn, in fact, that I omitted to take any photographs, and so have to rely on images sourced from the web – full credits / links to sources at the bottom of this post). She turns her versatile hands to ceramics in many styles, from the more rustic and traditional look as shown by the tea bowl and vase below, to a more modern look that would be at home in a more contemporary environment.

Thanks to Chris acting as interpreter, we got talking, and I learned that Kim is a former pupil of Cheon Han-bong, the master potter from Mungyeong whose work I had seen the previous year at the tea bowl festival. Kim moved to Seosan-si ten years ago to start her own pottery – Unsanyo – but she still keeps up her links with her teacher: Cheon helped build her wood-fired kiln, and sends her ashes from his apple trees, which Kim incorporates into the glaze for some of her pots. Cheon had promised to visit her exhibition a few days after we were there.

Kim kindly gave us a tourist tip for the following day. When she heard we were planning to visit Seosan’s rock-carved Buddha triad, a treasure not far from her pottery, she recommended a visit to the former site of Gayasa in neighbouring Yesan-gun. This was a tip we were glad to follow.

And I remember Kim Sun Mee most days as I sit at my desk sipping my double espresso from the cup I bought from her exhibition in Chollipo.

Espresso cup by Kim Sun Mee

Kim Sun Mee’s pottery, Unsanyo can be found at 95 Sinchang-gil, Unsan-myeon, Seosan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea (356-833 충청남도 서산시 운산면 신창길 95)

Photo credits: 2018 Seoul Buddhist Expo | insanjok on Instagram

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