Grace Han is a ceramic artist originally trained in Seoul, South Korea. She received her BFA from Dankook University where she specialized in traditional Korean Ceramic techniques. She then worked in one of the largest ceramic companies in Korea, building on her ceramics knowledge and experience outside of academia. She immigrated to Canada and received her MFA from University of Manitoba. Now she is pursuing her career as a ceramic artist in Canada, her foreign home.
My work is a deep exploration of the nuances and complexity of being “between”:
living as a Canadian Newcomer from Asia; having a slight physical frame but possessing an indomitable boldness; and as a ceramic artist trained in the Korean tradition who is seeking to marry it to my own originality. I call this practice betweenness.
Betweenness shows itself in how I make both large-scale works and also small repetitive porcelain pieces. I create large-scale works using the Onggi technique which requires tremendous physical work in the making process because it involves coil/slab building, paddling, and throwing on a kick wheel. This process releases the negative emotions possessed within my inner spaces and allows me to breathe in.
In contrast to the Onggi-making, I make small porcelain objects repetitively to keep my hands busy. In this calm process, I can bring some organization to my ideas and thoughts that are all tangled in my head.
Because of my challenges with language, I can’t be myself. So, interaction with my work is akin to having a deep conversation with the true me. The more interactivity and freedom for the audience to express their ideas, the more direct and meaningful the conversation. Since my work acts as an honest expression of myself I can have an authentic conversation and direct interaction with the audience. Through these conversations I begin to feel the differences between me and others melt away and I feel less like an outsider.