Lee Eun Bum graduated from department of Ceramics at Hongik University in 1992 and started training in Onggi making. He has been introducing his works in five solo exhibitions as well as many other group exhibitions such as ‘Design & Color’ at the International Ceramic Center at Icheon and “Croisements vers la communication” in Paris hosted by IAC. His works are part of the permanent collection at Chosun Hwanyo Museum in Gwangju as well as Korean Cultural Center in UK. Today, he is back in his hometown in Eumsung, working away in his self-made studio to create works that are contemporary while respecting and borrowing from the traditions and heritage of Korean pottery techniques.
According to Lee, colors of celadon are more varied than those of white porcelain. He likes to experiment with different shades of celadon depending on the form and usage of his works, rather than being confined to the traditional celadon color. His favorite Goryeo celadon patterns are the early ones with clear drawings using the sanggam technique. He strives to create sophisticated celadon works with vibrant colors that balances simplicity and touch of drawings.
The colors, forms, and expression methods of the Goryeo celadon are indeed superior but it is equally important to evolve that style into a new direction that people of our times can relate to. Therefore, Lee’s tableware works have developed in its color, form and patterns in a way that fits naturally into our modern lifestyle. By combining the understanding of traditional potteries and its techniques with that of the modern lifestyle, Lee, Eun Bum is creating the contemporary celadon works of our times.
“Now and then, I stroke the back of the head of my daughter. Like my mother used to do to me. At this moment, it is as if my hand has become that of my mother’s back in the days. I wish to retain this feeling after single time I sit down to work on my next piece”
Lee is one of the potters in Korea to be renowned for his effort to pave the way in creating the next tradition in Korean pottery culture. His philosophy behind his works can be summarized in four Chinese characters: 法古創新. It means to take the old and create the new. He diligently studies and researches the secrets behind the sophistication of the celadon from the Goryeo dynasty and its charm that isn’t easy to replicate until this day.
He also frequently visits old celadon remains throughout the Korean peninsula to study the broken pieces and how they differ across the regions, continuously studying the different effects of clay & glaze combinations.
Lee is a superb engineer who advances the techniques of the traditional celadon but he is also a designer who creates objet that blends well into our modern lives. He aims to create the new celadon of our times that combines the sophistication of the lines and elegance of pure celadon. He constantly updates and improves his celadon works, treating it as a living entity that grows and matures.