Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HONGSOCK LEE

18-Karat Gold To Bend Earrings
 with Small Diamonds
We are eager to explore the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Korea which was built during the 14th century.

The literal translation of the palace's name is "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven," and its massive compound, consisting of 330 buildings, definitely attests to this.

Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Hongsock Lee.

Have you ever considered that an inanimate object can stir your emotions and intellect?

Maybe the color or its shape evoked a memory, or your response was more subliminal. The power of jewelry, though inherently lifeless, is that it can capture an onlooker's attention through unusual or elegant design arrangements.

In my research, I have often noticed the so-called personality of a piece of jewelry, and I respond to that. Sometimes I am not always able to pinpoint what exactly stirs my emotion; other times I can.

The basis of Lee's design approach is within this visual and visceral response of an observer. "Although we may not have any relevance to an inanimate object, the object can inspire various emotions," he says. "People can be moved by having a sense of mutual feeling emanating from the art."
18-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Rising Sun Pendant with Diamonds
Lee began his advent into artistic studies in 1995 studying Art and Crafts at Kon-Kuk University in Korea. Here he honed his innate gifts for sculpture receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 2000, he then traveled to the U.K. to study business at the Bournemouth Business School where he received a Certificate of Completion.

By 2003, Lee furthered his education by attending the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied Jewelry and Metalsmithing, and received a Masters of Fine Arts.

Lee's understated, fluid jewelry mirrors a sculptor's eye. Working primarily with 18-karat gold, sterling silver, small diamonds, and a technique called Keum-Boo--the placement of gold to silver with the use of heat--Lee creates pieces that appear weightless and buoyant.

18-Karat Yellow Gold Feather Pendant with
Small Diamonds and Rubies
His feather items, for instance, are interpretations of the epidermal barbules that resemble paper lanterns. His Windmill, Cube, and Shadow items each exhibit the same kind of voluptuous, flowing structure.

I am awed by the way he channels the metals' malleable qualities creating forms that highlight suppleness, flexibility, and litheness.

His beautiful jewelry has received numerous awards including Bellevue Museum Art Fair's Award of Excellence in Metal, Craft Boston Show's Best of Show Award, and the American Craft Exposition's Excellence in Metal. His elegant jewelry is also widely exhibited in galleries across the United States, in Korea, and Japan.

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