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intrinsic. matter. - Sammy Seung-min Lee & Kazu Oba

  • Japanese Friendship Garden 2215 Pan American Road East San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)
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Special exhibit admission fee:
   - General ... $4 + JFG admission
   - JFG member ... $3

Click here to check for early closures and black out dates!

Opening Reception @ JFG Inamori Pavilion
Saturday, November 11 | 4:30 PM
$5.00 (includes JFG entrance fee)

Or RSVP with Emiko Scudder
(619) 232-2784

     "The Garden is fortunate to invite two aspiring Asian American artists active in Denver, Colorado. Sammy Lee is originally from Korea and Kazu Oba is from Japan, each bringing their native traditions to contemporary art forms. The Garden is becoming a melting pot of international art.
     Sammy uses the ancient art of Korea, Joomchi, a technique of manipulating and felting mulberry paper. She kneads and pounds layers of hanji (Korean papers) to transform its fibers into resilient substrates that are as tough as leather. Then she employs casting techniques to explore a new realm of art. Her continual experiments with materials and techniques breaking unique art forms, breaking the traditional boundaries of art.
     Kazu follows the old traditions of Japanese pottery in shapes and colors of the Bizen or the Oribei wares and creates the modern sense of pottery. He is deeply involved in Utsuwa, which means vessel in English; however, vessels have a wide range of meaning, from utilitarian purposes to aesthetic pleasure. Kazu emphasizes that any work he creates is incomplete until his vessel is being used; the user completes his work. He stresses the coincident happening in his work.
     Both artists have impressive exposure nationally and internationally. Sammy graduated from UCLA in Media Art in 1998 and completed a graduate study from UMass Amherst in Architecture in 2006. Her work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in collections at the Getty Research Institute, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art, the Spanish National Library in Madrid, Spain, and many more. She is currently a resident artist at Redline Contemporary Art Center in Denver, Colorado.
     Kazu made his first visit to the US in 1989. He studied under Jerry Wingren, a sculptor in stone and wood, from 1999 to 2003. He moved back to Japan to study under Takashi Nakazato, a potter from Karatsu, in 2003 and 2004. Kazu has traveled to various places to produce and exhibit work, from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Wisconsin, New York, Washington D.C. and back in Colorado. His works are collected internationally."

Hiroko Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
San Diego State University

Workshop with Sammy Sueng-min Lee
Water, Paper & Rhythms: Korean paper felting technique
Saturday, November 11 | 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
JFG Inamori Pavilion Courtyard
$100 ... General | $85 ... JFG Members | $15 Material fee


Participants will explore an array of felting and casting techniques with hanji (Korean Mulberry paper). Hanji is made from inner bark of the mulberry and has longer and stronger fibers that are widely known amongst paper makers. Hanji is carefully soaked into water, and the excess is drained and massaged to rid of air pockets. You then knead, pound, layer, and beat the sheets in order to transform hanji’s fibers from delicate substrate into a resilient material that is as tough as leather, while retaining its beautiful, luminous quality. Felted sheets are beautiful as-is, or suitable for various art applications.

Space is limited, pre-registration is required. Please e-mail to sign up.

Material provided:

  • Hanji (2 sheets per participant)
  • 4-5 buckets/table
  • Cover for the table

Please bring the following:

  • Water sprayer
  • A pair of scissors
  • Small object (less than 10" in any length) to cast - OPTIONAL