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The Object

Korean patchwork meets jewellery with Misun Won

Misun Won / Photography by the artist

Misun Won / Photography by the artist

The Object is a new interview series with Scotland-based makers that explores the story behind a singular craft object.  

This series offers an insight into each maker’s creative process and the materials, techniques and ideas that make their work unique. Read our first instalment with glass-artist Keiko Mukaide, which explores the power of craft to celebrate and preserve our memories. 

In our second instalment for The Object series, jewellery designer/maker Misun Won explores her Circular Oval Flower Brooch. Learn about how Misun’s work draws inspiration from traditional Korean craft techniques, and the elaborate and meticulous hand-making process she has developed to create her unique jewellery style. 

 


 

Hello Misun, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your practice?

I am a South Korean jewellery designer/maker based in Edinburgh. My jewellery making practice is associated with highly refined handcraft skills in South Korea, and I use the ancient Korean metal surface decorating technique “Keumboo” to celebrate my cultural heritage.  

The major inspiration for my work is Korean patchwork. It is a highly traditional craft, and I also interpret the mathematical structure of the patchwork through fractal geometry to create my jewellery pieces. 

 

“My making process (…) is a slow process which involves hand-making at every stage, from pattern design to finishing the work with burnishing.” 

 

What is the object you have chosen to talk about? 

The object I have chosen is the Circular Oval Flower Brooch, which I made to show at Collect 2019, where I exhibited with Craft Scotland.  

It is part of a series that I have been making since 2015, and this piece was made specifically for the Collect 2019 showcase. I also showed it at the Goldsmiths’ Fair the same year, where I received a Best New Design Award - Special Mention. 

I chose this brooch to give a better understanding of my making process, which is meticulous and slow. Although I have been working in the field of jewellery for twenty years - which means my hands are well trained - my long-making process can still be described as painstaking. It is a slow process which involves hand-making at every stage, from pattern design to finishing the work with burnishing. This object is a good example of my hand-making skills and showcases my best achievements in jewellery making.  

 

The Circular Oval Flower Brooch by Misun Won seen from above on black background

Details of the Circular Oval Flower Brooch by Misun Won on black background

The Circular Oval Flower Brooch / Photography by the artist

 

Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the Circular Oval Flower Brooch? 

The inspiration behind this piece is Korean patchwork. Patchwork cloths were developed to wrap an object or food in a careful and respectful way. The ancient Korean people believed that keeping something wrapped was tantamount to keeping good fortune, and I wanted my work to express this symbolic meaning of the patchwork.   

 

“I work using silver, gold, and Keumboo (...) [the] metals’ colour highlight the rhythm in the overall structure of the piece.” 

 

What was your design and making process when creating the Circular Oval Flower Brooch?  

My design process involves a lot of numbers and mathematical calculations, it is almost like drawing a construction design on graph paper. Once I have the design on paper completed, I make a paper model to see if the pattern makes a correct structure. During this paper modelling stage, I can add or take out more from the pattern.  

I work using silver, gold, and Keumboo (24ct gold foil). As the patterns I create are complicated, I like to use these metals’ colour to highlight the rhythm in the overall structure of the piece. I only use basic techniques such as sawing, folding, soldering and burnishing, as these allow me to have direct contact with the materials I use and thus understand the structure of my work better. 

 

Preparatory sketch and maquette for the Circular Oval Flower Brooch by Misun Won.

Preparatory sketch and maquette for the Circular Oval Flower Brooch by Misun Won.

Paper samples for the Circular Oval Flower Brooch / Photography by the artist

 

How do you want people to interact with the Circular Oval Flower Brooch?  

I want my jewellery to sit well on the wearer’s body, so I consider comfort and durability in my design.  

People often say that this piece looks too delicate, and they are reluctant to hold it. But, as each oval unit supports each other, it is in fact a strong structure. And, my work is a jewellery piece, which means that it is happy when people wear it.  

 

Headshot of Misun Won in her studio

Misun Won / Photography by the artist

 

Has the object been shown at other fairs and exhibitions after its initial showings at Collect and the Goldsmiths’ Fair in 2019?  

The Scottish Gallery showed the piece, more recently as part of Patterns in Nature in 2021, and I also took the piece to the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2021.  

 


 

Misun Won lives and works in Edinburgh. Find her work on her website at www.misunwonjewellery.com and on Instagram

 

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. 

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Mayanne Soret
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