Ceramics school markets traditional craftsmanship

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Ceramics school markets traditional craftsmanship

An academic institute dedicated to preserving traditional Korean ceramics is launching its own brand of tableware that it hopes will get Korean homes and restaurants to upgrade their tools.
“Seasonal Tableware,” an exhibition currently at the Ewha Art Center in northern Seoul, showcases more than 200 works produced under a brand name, E-Momm. It is a collaboration of seven leading art industry professionals in Korea, and behind the brand is the Ewha Ceramics Research Institute.
The institute was officially named the Ewha Ceramics Research Institute in 1974, but since 1959 it has produced Korean celadon to preserve Korean traditions as well as support student activities on campus.
It is the first time an academic institute is launching a brand name with commerce in mind.
“There has been a significant change in lifestyle, dining and food in particular over the years in Korea,” said Kang Suk-young, the director of the institute. “Left behind in hectic contemporary daily lives are traditional ceramics, and the tableware commonly used now is a mixture of both Korean and Western cultures.”
The name E-Momm stands for Ewha and “maeum,” a Korean word meaning “heart.”
“Each dish represents a mother’s heart,” said Mr. Kang.
The objective of the brand is not only to bring back the old Korean custom of using fine ceramics and earthenware but also to introduce contemporary designs.
Designers involved in creating the line are not necessarily ceramic artists, but include a museum curator, Choi Hong-kyu, an interior designer, Mah Young-beom and the chief executive officer of a printing company, Suh Myoung-hyun.
The discussion about starting a comprehensive line of tableware started last September at a social gathering.
The artistic theme was to reflect Korean holidays, and each designer worked on their concept.
The brand consists of various practical items, ranging from teapots to plates and rice bowls, each line reflecting the individuality of the seven designers, yet placed together they are Korean and modern.
“All the items can be on one table and look good. Say, a rice bowl by Mah Young-beom and a soup bowl by Lee Hun-chung can be matched together on one table,” said Mr. Kang, who not only is one of the designers but also oversees the creative direction, production and sales.
Mr. Kang said the E-Momm brand will go on sale starting this fall in the Korean market and later on the international market. The price of E-Momm pieces ranges from 100,000 won ($100) to 1 million won.


by Ines Cho

The exhibition “Seasonal Tableware” continues through Saturday. The Ewha Art Center, located in the College of Art and Design on the Ewha Womans University campus in northern Seoul, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call 02-3277-2047.

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