Yuri Na

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionArt in coproduction


WOOD · METAL · CLAY : A Dialogue Through Materials by Three Designer-makers ‘…[A]ll [the craftsman’s] efforts to do good quality work depend on curiosity about the material at hand.’ (Sennett’s The Craftsman, 120) Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Material Curiosity in Eastern Philosophy The days of the week have been named after the seven celestial objects of classical astronomy in Latin-based Western cultures. In East Asia, the naming also closely parallels that of the Latin system, and consists of the Sun, Moon and the five planets visible to the naked eye. The five planets are named after the five elements: fire (Mars), water (Mercury), wood/tree (Jupiter), metal/gold (Venus), and earth/clay (Saturn). Among them, three elements - wood/tree, metal/gold, and earth/clay - that can be transformed into tangible and physical objects have a long shared history with human craftsmanship. In traditional East Asian philosophy, wood/tree (Thursday, ?) is equated with ‘east’, ‘green’, ‘spring’, and ‘dawn’. Metal or gold (Friday, ?) is equated with ‘west’, ‘white’, ‘autumn’ and ‘dusk’. Earth or clay (Saturday, ?) is equated with the ‘center’, ‘yellow’ and the eighteen days at the end of each season. In its translation, those who are not familiar with the relation between the three materials and the days of the week might get a little lost due to the differences in language and culture. Our initial simple curiosity toward a dialogue through materials began with the idea of linguistic playfulness from saying Thursday, Friday and Saturday (???, mog-geum-toe, in Korean), representing wood, metal and clay in a rhythmically charming way that also carries cultural meanings. It also enabled us to rethink the materials’ roles as transformable by humans and reborn through human creativity. Thinking Through Materials: Sharing Embodied Knowledge Traditionally (and perhaps still) it has been common to see craft categorized by their main material, and engagement with materials is the core of craft. In terms of creativity, makers always explore the infinite possibilities of materials, experiencing a productive exchange for forms between the materials and ideas, hands, and skills. In this exhibition, three designer-makers in wood, metal and clay gathered to express individual material contemplation and to share a deep discourse. While others may prefer non-traditional materials, as post-modernism has achieved a kind of liberation from restrictions of material use, we intended to represent the indigenous material in novel ways through our creativity in its form, uses, and aesthetic expression. Due to the different materials, we use different tools and apply different work processes. The joy of using the material, the aesthetic of slowness and waiting, and the difficulty of unpredictability in creative processes, opened dialogues from each perspective based on embodied knowledge. Despite our dealing with different materials, we also have something in common: that we think through materials and express it with our hands toward producing unique objects. Furniture, Jewelry and Ceramics: Metamorphosis, Anthropomorphization, and Presence For this exhibition we handcrafted everyday objects, furniture, jewelry and ceramics, with the materials that can represent them the most based on our tacit knowledge of the materials’ intrinsic nature. By citing three attributes of material consciousness, as identified by Richard Sennett (The Craftsman, 119-146), in this exhibition we aim to present the metamorphosis of materials (wood, metal and clay), and its potential for anthropomorphizations based on their intrinsic characteristics, reflecting our presence designer-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeF2 Public partial realisation of a work of art

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