Risa Salsberg

Risa Salsberg is a mixed-media artist based in Vancouver, B.C. Her illustrations are approachable, intimate and contemplative. Since 2005 she has created more than 3000 images for her “A Drawing A Day” series, documenting the transient experiences and subtle emotions of each day.

Kobo Seattle Risa Salsberg Japanese art design craft

1. You mention your work reflects the time you spent living and studying with Buddhist nuns in a Tokyo Zen temple. Tell us more.
My time at the nunnery focused on the practise of shojin ryori (traditional Buddhist vegetarian cooking), enlightenment through cooking. My sensei stressed that the way to do everything was with kokoro (heart), kansha (gratitude) and saho (form). When you wash rice, wash rice with your whole heart. These same principles apply to my art practice; when I draw, I draw with my whole heart. I am in the moment. In my sensei’s art, cooking, and teachings, less was always enough. In my current series, I do not fill in every blank space. I leave room for the mind to rest.

kobo seattle risa salsberg illustration japanese art design craft

2. If you could only use 3 words to describe your work, what would they be?

kobo seattle risa salsberg japanese art design craft

3. Is there a story behind each illustration?
In this series, the stories emerged as the work was created, without a preconceived idea of what the work would look like. It unfolded. Sometimes there was an emotion that would attach to the piece and I would work alongside that and go from there.

kobo seattle risa salsberg illustration Japanese art design craft

4. You sometimes use fibers and found materials in your work. How did this begin?
I keep the raven’s perspective and am always looking for interesting objects to bring home; certain materials hold an innate sense of inspiration for me. For example, during my first visit to Japan I fell in love with traditional washi paper. I was taken by its beauty and warmth, and love that it is handmade. Years later washi found a home in my work.

Risa Salsberg / Drawings & illustrations
& Haejin Lee / Ceramic vessels & sculpture
KOBO Gallery (at Higo)
August 23 – September 21, 2014
Opening reception with the artists Saturday August 23, 5-8pm
“Made in America” by Kathy Yoshihara on display through Sunday August 17th.

Haejin Lee

Haejin Lee is a ceramic artist from Seoul, South Korea now based in Vancouver, B.C. Her sculptural work seems to defy gravity and has won many international awards. Haejin’s elegant cups and tableware are available at both KOBO locations.

Haejin Lee ceramic artist Kobo at Higo Seattle

1. Your manipulation of clay into ‘ribbons’ is impressive! How did you begin to use this technique?

I have been always interested in the concept of Mobius strips. I find it fascinating that a two dimensional element–a line–can also be expressed in three dimensions and loop infinitely. ‘Continuity’ and ‘Infinity’ are the main themes behind all my ceramic work. Execution of the technique was not easy at first. It not only required me to calculate the drying rate of each strip, which has various lengths and thicknesses, but I also had to balance the weight of the strips so they wouldn’t collapse when fired. It gives me a sense of achievement when I successfully execute the design with strips that are almost impossible to balance.

kobo seattle haejin lee ceramics

2. How did you get interested in ceramics?
When I was little, I liked to buy little ceramic goods for my friends’ birthdays. I liked the attachment of ceramic wares to our everyday life; drinking tea, having a warm bowl of soup, etc. I always thought it would be a more special and heartfelt present to my dear friends than giving them a pretty fashion accessory.

I was accepted to Sunhwa Art middle school and high school in South Korea. By the time I was 17, I tried most of the media the Art schools offered. I definitely had the most fun in ceramics classes; making three dimensional pieces out of wet clay fired my imagination. I was obsessed with making each piece ‘perfect’ in my standard. I remember spending hours and hours perfecting the coiling technique when I was first learning. Also, my interest in food and table settings of different cultures fueled my passion towards ceramic art. Being able to use my work to hold nicely prepared food on a dinner table is one of the most enjoyable parts of working with ceramics.

Kobo Seattle Haejin Lee ceramics

3. You write that your tableware should be used as everyday dishes instead of being admired in a closed cabinet. Any words of encouragement for those of us who are afraid of breaking such precious pieces?

Every element of my tableware is carefully thought out to make them comfortable and practical: the placement of each handle, the width and volume of cups so they fit in your hand more comfortably, the weight and thickness of each piece is also calculated to be as light as possible, but durable when washed. I think all these little considerations are also a privilege for clients to enjoy when my dishes are utilized rather than being admired in a closed cabinet.

Kobo Seattle Haejin Lee ceramics

4. Do you use your own ceramics at home?

Yes, I do use my own ceramics. In fact, more than 80% of all ceramic ware we use at home was made by me. I think it’s essential to use one’s own designs at home; all of my tableware is tested by me at my own home. I make minor adjustments based on the different experiences I have with each design. It also helps me to come up with new designs.

Kobo Seattle Haejin Lee ceramic tableware mugs

5. If you could only use 3 words to describe your work, what would they be?

Infinite, controlled, extempore (spontaneous, done without preparation).

Haejin Lee / Ceramic vessels & sculpture
& Risa Salsberg / Drawings & illustrations
KOBO Gallery (at Higo)
August 23 – September 21, 2014
Opening reception with the artists Saturday August 23, 5-8pm
“Made in America” by Kathy Yoshihara on display through Sunday August 17th.