Monday, December 22, 2008

A visit to Song Il Geun's

On Sunday we visited the house and studio of Song Il Geun.  Michael visited his studio a number of times in 2001, and was really excited to go back.  Mr. Song used to be an oil delivery man in the 1980's, and one of his deliveries was to Mr. Oh's first studio.  Mr. Song was very interested in pottery, and started to make pottery at Mr. Oh's studio.  Mr. Oh says he was a "bad" student because he was so excited he never could wait for his pots to dry before cutting the feet or adding handles!  Now he makes some really incredible pottery, along with sculpture.  He moved back to his home village and has built  an amazing compound of traditional clay and straw buildings.  He's also a half time farmer. Above are three of his sculptures sitting on some beautiful old onggi jars, and below are his studio and showroom.  Mr. Song has found hundreds of shards of punchong pots from the choson dynasty around his village, and you see these shards everywhere around his place.  Lots of great foot-rings to look at!
Notice in the picture above and below the onggi chimneys, which connect to the ondol heating system.

Here's the front of his beautiful house (made by him and his wife).  It has clay walls covered in handmade paper on the inside.  
Mr. Oh helped Mr. Song build this wood kiln in 2002.

Hanging from the eaves of the house are traditionally made blocks of meju - the first step in making traditional Korean soy sauce and soy bean paste.  After hanging under the eaves and fermenting for the winter, the meju is placed in large onggi jars with water and salt to ferment more.
We bought two pots from Mr. Song that we are really excited about.  These photos don't really do them justice, but unlike a lot of pots we've seen, they are funky and a little wobbly in a way that feels really honest - hard to pull off!
Here's the foot of the bowl on the left...  Our visit to Mr. and Mrs. Song's was very short, and we really hope to visit them again before we go and spend some more time in their gorgeous house.

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