I’m still thinking about Eunsuh’s lecture last week. She was so generous with her story. I think we were all surprised to hear that her background was in textiles and fashion. When she took her first hot glass class, she hated it – it was so imprecise and messy compared to the precision that she had honed in textiles. But her father asked her to give glass one more chance, and as she described it, “that decision changed my life.” She took a bead-making class and fell in love with torch-working. She felt that she was again in control of material and color, and loved the meditative nature of the process. She was essentially self-taught after that one class, developing her own relationship to the glass and techniques for working with it.
She talked about the challenges of feeling like an outsider in America, and missing her family and friends at home in South Korea. This further influenced her ideas and personal philosophy as she blended her eastern background with western experience to make work about personal aspirations in life. Particularly inspiring for the students were her descriptions of her struggles to make the work that was important to her. She described a tiny home studio, set up in her kitchen. There was the time that she couldn’t afford to buy glass, so she dismantled a large and very significant piece in order to recycle the glass into new work. She told us about the very conscious and practical decision she made to work smaller at one point, in order to reduce the cost of packing and shipping the work.
Of course, her work was beautiful. She gave a great demo, working with pre-made elements. As she said, it was “like a cooking show” that she choreographed so that the students could experience a broad range of her methods and techniques. We were all amazed by her generosity of spirit and skill.
– Sharyn O’Mara