Young Mi Kim works and teaches from her studio in Bearsville, and at the Byrdcliffe Guild in Woodstock NY. Each of her ceramic pieces is one-of-a-kind and slowly, meticulously hand built. She layers strands of clay in a coil, carefully working upward as she discovers the shape. She writes, “In essence, each layer marks time and space. When I hand build my pots, it is a form of meditation. It is my attempt to live in grace: like an open vessel, empty and yet full.” Young Mi is also a gardener, and her time in nature clearly influences her work. Her biomorphic sculptures often resemble flowers, seed pods, fungi and other organic forms.
Young Mi grew up in South Korea in the vicinity of the newly formed border between North and South, where her father had created a shelter for war orphans and widows at the foot of the mountains. In 1974, her father brought his family to New York. Young Mi was twelve, didn’t speak English, and found solace and inspiration in the museums of New York City. She eventually attended the High School of Art and Design and completed her undergraduate work in painting at the prestigious Cooper Union. It was only much later that she discovered pottery. She took a few classes and, as she writes, “I felt so drawn to the process, like my body depended on it to quench that thirst. Clay is like that, it calls you back to yourself.”
Young Mi’s ceramic sculptures are a leap of faith: after the many hours it takes for her to build their delicate shapes, she never knows if they will survive their time in the kiln. Each unique work represents a singular success after much trial and error.
Her work has been exhibited in Seoul and New York galleries. We are very pleased to include her unique sculptural vessels in our spaces at 200 Lex and in Long Island City.