Thursday, February 9, 2012

SEOHEE KOH

Fine and Sterling Silver Square-able Pendant Necklace
Located in Chungcheong buk-do, Korea is the Buddhist temple Popchusa. 

Built during the late 7th century, the structure houses a wooden pagoda—the Palsangjeon—which was initially chosen as a set by martial arts legend Bruce Lee for his movie Game of Death.  

Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Seohee Koh.

When I have viewed work from Korean jewelry artisans such as Kiwon Wang, NaMu Cho, and So Young Park I see sprawling imagination and labor-intensive techniques that ultimately brings a unique concept to life.

For the most part, Korean jewelry designers follow a rather complex design approach.  They experiment with an array of forms that often originate from a simple starting point; a single line seems to mutate into extraordinarily detailed outlines.

Koh brings her expertise in fine, fashion and contemporary jewelry to her chic yet novel creations of rings, brooch pins and pendant necklaces.  Working with 18-karat yellow gold, fine and sterling silver the New York-based jeweler loves bringing elements of surprise to her subtle yet distinctive collections.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Creative Academy of Milan in 2005 Koh participated in a contemporary jewelry exhibition, Fresh Air from Korea, curated by Kiwon Wang.

18-Karat Gold Plated Fine Silver Square-able Ring
According to Wang the goal of the exhibition centered on Korean jewelry students who study in the West and the manner in which they developed a “newfound interest in their own nation’s cultural systems. 

These artists then attempt to make traditional methodologies speak to the present. They have held onto what is their own, while their work reflects the reality of a multicultural exchange.  My focus was to show contemporary jewelers in the West that there is a balance between execution of contemporary ideas and maintaining a connection to tradition.”

Koh draws not only from her experience at the exhibition but she also channels stints at Liz Claiborne, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co. into designer jewelry that is variegated, expressive and just plain beautiful.

Her Square-able Flower items explore floral designs in crinkled, ribbon-like metal; asymmetrical cone forms are the basis of her Hole Project Collection; and lovely tubular pieces reminiscent of wind chimes compose her Tubing Collection.

“It is very fascinating how lines and angles can create lots of unique shapes.  When I was a child I always had fantasies of mathematics, geometry with all of these lines, angles and numbers floating around in my head,” she recalls. 
Sterling Silver Scored Necklace, Bracelets and Brooc Pins
“While I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design I was able to create these fantasies in my jewelry work.

I have been designing jewelry for over 15 years and I take all of my experience—technical drawing, computer software and hand craft skills—and use it to make my jewelry.

I have become a versatile designer and I always enjoy seeing people wearing my work.”
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