Monday, March 22, 2010


Today we visit Namsan Park in Seoul, Korea, an expansive natural area that consists of hiking trails, an aquarium, fountain, library, and a cable car. Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer So Young Park.

Park initially explored her creative aptitudes by becoming a student of fine art painting at Busan Art High School.

A few years later, however, while attending Seoul's Kon-Kuk University, precious metal would become a new canvas from which to create.

Upon earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft Design and two Masters of Fine Arts in Metal and Jewelry Design (one from Kon-Kuk, the other from New York's Rochester Institute of Technology), Park incorporates hammering, repoussé and chasing, and granulation into incredibly detailed jewelry.

Nature is a key theme in her remarkable conceptual and hand fabricated jewelry. She vividly recreates floral-like configurations blending 18-karat yellow gold, and oxidized sterling silver with accents of Japanese Akoya pearls, and small mounds of granulated gemstones that resemble caviar.

The organic, natural forms of her striking necklaces, the pendants of which double as brooches, mimic the warped yet voluptuous semblance of dried leaves and flowers. The curve of each cupped petal is exact and faithful to form, and in this way Park brings to mind the beautiful floral jewelry of Chao-Hsien Kuo (Taiwan) of Lapponia Jewelry Oy.

The detailing is incredible; the contrasts of textures, colors, shapes and etchings--all in one piece--adds to Park's stunning visual language. A language expressing the complexity of "growth and life."

"Human life and plant life have similar growth characteristics," she says. "I discovered an important role that plant forms can have in my metal work. From an aesthetic viewpoint, nature reveals the beauty of the eternal cycles of life. I assemble my jewelry pieces through the harmonic use of wires, hammered textures, and tiny concave shaped metal pieces creating elegant yet unusual forms."

Park also creates provocative, baroque-style sculptures that often depict human emotions, mind-sets, and behavior through parts of the human body such as the nose, eyes and face.

The prolific designer's exceptional work is currently a part of an exhibition at New York's Aaron Faber Gallery.

The exhibition is called Working in Metal: Three Women, which runs through April 20, 2010, and features the work of jewelry artists Sydney Lynch, and Glenda Arentzen.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold and Oxidized Sterling Silver Cuff
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold and Oxidized Silver Necklace w/ Pearl Drop
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