The characteristics of Hanji's materials and the attractiveness of the Jiseung craft technique. Interview with Eunhee Cho by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 20.06.2022
Eunhee Cho Eunhee Cho
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Eunhee Cho. Ring: Jiseung  Ring, 2022. Hanji, metal stamen, pearl. 2.5 x 2.5 x 5 cm. In the collection.. Eunhee Cho
Ring: Jiseung Ring, 2022
Hanji, metal stamen, pearl
2.5 x 2.5 x 5 cm

In the collection.

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Eunhee Cho wants to keep trying with various experiments in the future with Jiseung jewelry that gave her freedom, and she wants to complete her own skills and voice as an artist, not just inherit traditional techniques.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I spent my childhood in a house decorated with old furniture and antiques collected by my parents. My father, who was an interpreter, was interested in Korean tradition, so he decorated the house in a traditional style, and invited foreign guests to give them a Korean atmosphere. I didn't know it at the time, but later on, I was unknowingly influenced by the environment that surrounded me. I majored in French language and literature at Sookmyung Women's University, but I couldn't give up my dream of painting after graduation, so I learned painting to go to a graduate school of art, but I turned to a web designer, which is a job that pops up at that time, and worked as a web designer for five years. I felt limited and bored with the design that had to be implemented only on a monitor, and I became interested in crafts that could work with my hands feeling the physical properties. So, after majoring in metal and jewelry design at Kookmin University's Graduate School of Techno Design, I launched my jewelry brand, 'Lang Lang'. The environment surrounded by old furniture and antiques as a child, my interest in art, a career as a web designer, dexterity, and all of these combined into one, naturally led me to traditional jewelry making and brand launching.

My work is to take motifs from Korean traditional crafts and relics and use traditional craft techniques to produce casual jewelry and accessory that can be worn in everyday life. While the former works were made to be felt in the traditional color, 'Jiseung Jewelry' focused on highlighting the characteristics of 'Hanji' and making the vertical line, which is a characteristic of Jiseung crafts, stand out clearly. And most of all, because it is lightweight, various designs that were hesitant due to its weight could be applied to jewelry, and even though it is a piece of contemporary jewellery, it would be fun to present people with the unexpected charms that were made with Korean traditional craft techniques. Above all, I was very interested in the characteristics of Hanji's materials and the attractiveness of the 'Jiseung craft technique', so I wanted to continue to experiment more extensively with 'Jiseung Jewelry'. And, this desire naturally led me to the world of contemporary jewellery where the artist's individuality and creativity can be expressed to their heart's content.

How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
Both human networking and social networking are important.

I am a jewelry designer and representative of Lang Lang brand, but I am also a student who learns traditional craft techniques from Korean human cultural assets and an instructor who teaches my jewelry making techniques to students. These offline meetings and socializing made my work style richer and led me to many good opportunities. And it was a good opportunity to learn the seriousness and knowledge of work just by watching the appearance and attitude of a craftsman who worked in one field all his life.

And online networking uses blogs and Instagram. From now on, I think I will add wings to my online networking through Klimt02.

What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
Contemporary Jewellery is tolerant of freedom of creation and individuality of works, but if it is too much, it may move away from communication with the public. I think that good work is one that sells well. The public's act of purchasing the artist's work reflects their willingness to share the artist's energy. The public is not just buying tangible objects, but the story of the artist that they contain. The artist's charm, present and future marketability... It is to buy the value of the artist.

Seducing the public to understand, empathize with, and want to keep the story of the work and the artist's motive for work, Along with a good job, efforts are also an artist's duty, and such an attempt will be an opportunity. So I appreciate popular and commercial artists. Because it is proof that they have been working hard to persuade the public and raise their sympathy in order to get closer to the public.

Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
I am familiar with computers and graphic tools because I was a web designer before I became a Jewelry designer. I've been seeing how vector images and bitmap images are seen on a monitor, and what kind of catastrophe happens when images of different sizes than the one set up are inserted into the designed coding of a web page. This standardized frame and the work environment in which I had to produce the maximum design under limited conditions have always been a challenge and an adventure for me. And this process served as an opportunity for me to train myself to extract the essence from scattered inspiration materials and make it into refined design products when I became a jewelry designer and developed traditional jewelry. It held my work, which could be endlessly abstract and metaphysical, firmly attached to reality, and it became a process of refining to remove unnecessary clutter in the work. And, thanks to this training, I was able to sell my works steadily at various gallery shops for more than 10 years.

In addition, exchanges and promotions with the public through blogs and Instagram as a window of communication have led to the publication of Lang Lang's Traditional Accessory in Everyday Life. Recently, I launched a personal homepage, which consists of only 'Jiseung' works. In addition to Jiseung Jewelry, Jiseung Accessories and various Jiseung Objects can be found on the website.

For sales, my works are mainly entered through the open contest of the gallery shop, but in the case of the museum shop of the 'National Museum of Korea', the MD saw my blog and contacted me directly In order to propose to enter the store. And my works are being sold not only in offline shops but also in online shops. As such, technology and digital are clearly interacting in my artistic development and communication.

How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
My work style is to reinterpret Korean traditional craft elements in a modern way and embody them in various works. Metal crafts, textile works based on Korean traditional needlework called 'Gyubang Craft', Korean traditional knots, natural dyeing, and paper jewelry, all the creative variations are revealed in my work. While exploring and trying out the physical properties and craft techniques of various materials, I met 'Hanji' and 'Jiseung Craft'. Hanji is a paper made with the unique Korean method of manufacturing and is made from the bark of paper mulberry. Hanji is well-ventilated, tough, and has excellent preservation.

The term 'Jiseung' refers to a string made by rubbing and twisting paper. And 'Jiseung Craft' refers to a traditional Korean craft technique in which Hanji is cut into thin and long pieces, rubbed with fingertips, and twisted into a double string to make various objects. In this way, when Hanji is woven into a single string and a double string and made into a three-dimensional object, it has excellent durability enough to maintain its shape even if it is wet, and above all, it is very light. This characteristic came to me as a very appropriate material to freely express the volume of jewelry without weight restrictions. In particular, when making earrings or brooches made of metal, the weight should always be considered, but my Jiseung jewelry was freed from such restrictions, allowing the design to be expanded in abundance as much as possible. In addition, how richer colors would be created if weaving 'Jiseung' after natural dyeing with dye materials such as turmeric, safflower, mugwort, acorns and sappanwood on Korean paper? Just thinking about this makes my heart flutter. I wanna keep trying various experiments in the future with Jiseung jewelry that gave me freedom like this way and I want to complete my own skills and voice as an artist, not just inheriting traditional techniques.