South Korea-born Myung Urso’s journey through life has taken many turns along the way; and she has taken something from each of those bends in the road to arrive at the place she now finds herself – a master jewelry maker with a unique style all her own.
In Seoul, Myung Urso worked as an editor and reporter at the Monthly Art & Craft magazine (Design-House Ltd.), and spent time as a museum curator, also in Seoul. In 1998 she opened ‘Hand and Mind’ contemporary craft gallery in Seoul, which operated through 2005. She spent five years in London, where she studied museum and gallery management at the City University; and worked for the Visiting Arts division in the London headquarters of the British Council.
As a curator and art director, Myung Urso organized more than 50 contemporary craft exhibitions throughout South Korea, France, the United Kingdom and United States. She has served as a juror for numerous craft competitions and as an advisor for the Korean Ministry of Culture & Tourism, the Korea National Museum Foundation, and the Korea Craft Promotion Foundation.
One might wonder: What does all of this have to with becoming a jewelry artist? On the surface, probably not much; but look below the surface, take all of those life experiences into account, and you find an artist who has developed her style by watching, learning and experiencing – something she has done her entire life.
CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES HELP FORM THE BASIS FOR WHO SHE IS TODAY
“My imagination transforms itself from memories and personal stories,” says Urso.
“Assisting my elderly mother with hand-sewing and the traditional ways for the preparation of food helped to shape my hand skills,” she adds. “The shaping of rice cake and arranging vegetables for winter storage enhanced my visual aesthetic. My previous work experience as an editor/reporter and art curator has broadened my knowledge and interpretation of contemporary jewelry.”
Calligraphy and sewing serve as Urso’s fundamental techniques, two things she has practiced throughout her lifetime. “Calligraphy has always fascinated me in how the brush stroke touches and enlivens the surface of a paper or fabric,” she says. “Black ink lines and patterns often reveal meaningful symbols, letters or poetic landscapes.” The influence of this ancient art form is evident in her work.
“The collaboration between metal and various fiber materials enhance my ability to create,” she adds. “Materials have their own character and offer many unique shapes, colors, patterns and textures.”
Urso challenges herself to “emphasize the special characteristics and beauty of materials while expanding the boundaries in creating an original identity” for her jewelry.
Urso sells her work primarily at fine craft events and gallery exhibitions around the country. Earlier this year she had her second solo show, ‘Myung Urso – Signature’, at Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco; the International Fiber Art Biennale at Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia; and the American Craft Council’s Baltimore Craft Show. Upcoming events in include the Westchester Fine Craft Show, in White Plains, NY and the Washington Craft Show in Washington, DC.