This Korean artist uses an unlikely household material to sculpt ceramics: kitchen roll

Staying at home in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis have you feeling like your inventive spark is snuffed out? Now's the time to ignite your inspiration: here's an excerpt from our bestselling title, Tom Morris' New Wave Clayabout the technique of artist Jongjin Park.

The delicate works by Korean artist Jongjin Park are made using undoubtedly one of ceramic’s least sophisticated materials: kitchen paper.

It is a technique that Park developed while studying at Cardiff University in the UK. Park paints each leaf of tissue in sloppy porcelain slip and then layers them up one by one to create one giant mass. It can take up to 1,000 paper towels to make one work. Some of the slips are coloured with pigment in order to create a rainbow grain through the piece. The clay is then fired, burning off the paper and leaving the millefeuilles pillows that he is known for. Parts of the paper towel that he does not add slip to simply burn away all together, leaving the wells in the middle of some of these containers.

Park slips between an artificial palette of pink and blue, which fits the cake-like nature of the pieces, to muddier, earthier hues. The delicate aesthetic of what Park makes vividly contrasts with how they feel to the touch. These are cold, hard ceramic, and not nearly as fragile as one might think. ‘As ceramic artists we have the advantage of understanding our materials and processes directly and can manipulate these in interesting ways to spark a dialogue with our viewers,’ Park says. 

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