In Korea, when talking about a person’s personality, we use the term ‘vessel’ as a metaphor. I grew up listening to lessons from my parents that I should always be a “big vessel.” A vessel is an object used for filling and holding something. My parents emphasized the idea of this “big vessel,” which does not refer to size; it means having ability, open-mindedness, capability, a big heart, and generosity.
Among the many forms of vessels, the most complicated to make is a teapot. This is because teapots are made of several different parts: body, handle, knob, spout, lid, and foot. The challenge is to emphasize the esthetic qualities of a shape, ensuring they go well together to create a beautiful harmony. The questions this creates for me are more fun than creating just a standard vessel form.
Teapots have long been used socially for the act of sharing and confiding with each other over a cup of tea. In their outward context, they represent traditions, rituals, and cultures. Teapots inwardly symbolize warmth, comfort, friendship, and community. Historically, teapots have also been used to commemorate events or make (often subversive) political statements.
Many people struggle with finding their identity due to this ever-changing world we live in. Self-discovery is essential to know what direction life is taking each of us. According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-discovery is the process of acquiring insight into one’s own character.
I am a unique individual, a child of God, a big teapot, and still also a process. As a teapot must tilt its body humbly to pour tea water, so I am in the process of becoming the big teapot that serves others.
I’m a Big teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!
I’m a very special teapot,
Yes, it’s true,
Here’s an example of what I can do,
I can turn my handle into a spout,
Tip me over and pour me out!
⚱My technique of hand-building with tiny pellets of clay
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single tiny decision.”
By James Clear
“The compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small smart choices.” By Darren Hardy
My technique of hand-building with tiny pellets of clay springs from a fundamental principle that “from many can come one.” Each bit of clay holds the mundane - my fingerprints and the sublime - my mood.
Each also shows the progress of my work in its journey toward completion. It’s symbolic of human lives, consisting of many thousands of simple days and the planting of seeds.
Sooyeon Kim is a native of Seoul, South Korea, where she received her undergraduate degree before coming to the U.S. and earned a master of Arts at Iowa State University. Sooyeon Kim’s work has been exhibited in many national and international shows, including NCECA (National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts), SOFA Chicago (Sculpture Objects Functional Art & Design) and has been featured in Ceramics Monthly Magazine.
Currently, Sooyeon Kim is a studio artist and teaches ceramics, 3D design, and Art, Society, and Culture classes at Georgia State University at Clarkston campus in Georgia.