Saly Lee


I’d like to record impressions and reflections of personal experiences using shapes, and rhythms in my clay work.  Basic elements such as lines, shapes, and masses without specific reference to a figure are some of my concerns when working with clay.

Spontaneity and naturalness are what I have always admired in Art.  I have particularly valued the works that exist seemingly without effort.  In recent years, my interest with functional objects and study of material culture – art, artifacts, specimens, documents that people can learn from its relationship to other objects, people, eras, and ideas – influenced my understanding and interpretation of “Traditional—i.e. functional” and “Contemporary—i.e. made for beauty and/or statement” ceramics.

For this exhibition, I explored traditional ritual vessels that were used in memorial rites in Korea.  In the past, so much significance was attached to the forms, shapes, and materials, and I wanted to recreate my own to serve in my own rites.  Although the context of “vessel” relates to the function and tradition of culture, the techniques I employ –mostly pinching and slab building—allow me to explore my interests in the spontaneity of the clay process.  In a way, moving away from the home country and completely breaking down and rebuilding my cultural/artistic values helped me to create my own personal history with my work.  I am freer to claim my own culture, though my root is still embedded with clay medium.

  • Offerings (2022)
    sizes vary, up to 7.5″ x 7.5″ x 3″ Celadon on stoneware and NC dark clays