Korea Onggi potter – Lee Kang-hyo


Gifted South Korean potter Lee Kang-hyo gives a masterful demonstration on video of creating large scale Onggi pots. He creates traditional Buncheong vessels with expressive decoration using white slip to manipulate the elegant designs. The contemplative forms have a pure spontaneity that capture and subdue a rich dynamism. Although adhering to ancient Korean pottery traditions, the final result,with its minimalist aesthetic, looks just as suitable for a contemporary space. The Korean reverence for the pottery arts translates naturally through his timeless forms. Lee’s work is derived from two Korean traditions of Onggi pottery and Bun-cheong decoration and he is renowned for being the first modern Korean potter to bring these two traditions together.


Lee Kang-hyo ‘Onggi Master’ – film about a Korean potter


“My documentary tells the story of Lee Kang-hyo’s search for a beautiful life, through his work with clay and the love of his family. Set against the backdrop of his South Korean studio, it gives an insight into the spiritual journey that plays a vital part in his artistic practice.”  – Alex Wright


Lee Kang-hyo background:


Lee Kang-hyo was born in Inch’on in 1961 and studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Hongik University, Seoul, graduating in 1983. This was followed with three years as an apprentice in Onggi pottery in the South Kyongsang Province. After training in the technique and a further three years working as an assistant, Lee started his own studio where he developed his pottery with his wife, also a ceramicist, building the kiln they still use today.

Lee Kang Hyo’s ceramics reflect the Buncheong tradition of gray stoneware decorated with white slip. The subtle color variations range from milky white to a spectrum of grays and beiges, to pink and rusty red, and to an earthy dark brown.


Flat -Bottle-Punch'ong-37cm height by Lee Kang-hyo @ Goldmark Gallery

Buncheong Flat Bottle – Lee Kang-hyo

37cm height, 2011

Goldmark Gallery



Earthenware vessel --Lee-Kang-hyo-i-Goldmark-Gallery

Buncheong vessel – Lee Kang-hyo



kang-hyo-lee_vase puncheong earthenware

Buncheong vase – Lee Kang-hyo

Goldmark Gallery



kang-hyo-lee_lidded jar Goldmark Gallery UK

Lidded Jar – Lee Kang-hyo



lee-kang-hyo_BUncheong plate Goldmark Gallery

Buncheong dish – Lee Kang-hyo

28cm diameter

Goldmark Gallery



lee-kang-hyo Bottle with tin fish motif - Goldmark Gallery

Two fish bottle – Lee Kang-hyo



lee-kang-hyo_Goldmark Gallery

Ceramic teapot – Lee Kang-hyo




lee-kang-hyo_LARGE-JAR Goldmark Gallery

Large buncheong jar – Lee Kanghyo

Goldmark Gallery




Lee-kang-hyo_square-vase with a rounded top

Square bottle vase – Lee Kang-hyo




Lee-kang-hyo-Earthenware box Goldmark Gallery

Lidded square box, rounded lid and sides – Lee Kang-hyo

Goldmark Gallery





Lee-Kang-Hyo-jar Goldmark Gallery

Buncheong Jar – Lee Kang-hyo




Lee Kang-hyo- Buncheong Platter Goldmark Gallery

Buncheong platter – Lee Kang-hyo




Lee- Kang-hyo-Tea-bowl @ Goldmark Gallery

Tea bowl   Lee kang-hyo




Lidded-Jar by Lee Kang-hyo Goldmark Gallery

Lidded Jar  – Lee Kang-hyo

Goldmark Gallery





Lee Kang-hyo-Sake-Bottle Goldmark Gallery

Ribbed Sake bottle  – Lee Kang-hyo





Pottery on shelf at Lee Kang-hyo studio

Lee Kang-hyo Onggi pottery

Minetti Design




Teabreak at studio - Lee Kang-hyo @Minetti Design

Tea break with Lee Kang-hyo

Minetti Design



Lee-Kang-Hyo studio pots @Minetti Design

Lee Kang-hyo buncheong pots

Minetti Design



lee-kang-hyo applying surface decoration to his buncheong pottery

Lee Kang-hyo at work





Lee Kang-hyo




Working in studio – Lee Kang-hyo




Lee-Kang-hyo-studio pots Minetti Design

Buncheong pots – Lee Kang-hyo studio





Lee Kang-hyo kiln




kang-hyo-lee_sake bottle

Sake Bottle – Lee Kang-hyo




Kang-Hyo-Lee-at-the-Mindy-Solomon-Gallery - buncheong bottle

Rounded vessel – Lee Kang-hyo

Mindy Solomon Gallery




Lee Kang -hyo bottle





Buncheong Bottle – Lee Kang-hyo

Mindy Solomon Gallery



Kang-Hyo-Lee-Mindy-Solomon ovoid rounded vessel

Ovoid vessel – Lee Kang-hyo




Kang-Hyo-Lee---Puncheong-squared-oval vessel

Oval buncheong bottle

Mindy Solomon Gallery




My House 4 – lidded square box – Lee Kang-hyo

Mindy Solomon Gallery





“Ulsan Oegosan Onggi,” a piece of traditional Korean pottery located in Ulju, Ulsan, is examined by members of Guinness World Records in Ulsan, it held the record in 2011 for largest earthenware pot

223 centimeters high (87 inches) and up to 517.6 centimeters in girth



More Korean Buncheong:




Buncheong Cheolhwa Dangchomun Janggun (vein pattern-plated jar)

Horim Museum




Buncheong Yeonhwa Sanggam Dangchomun Saiho (lotus and vein pattern-inlaid four-ear jar)

National Jinju Museum





Ree Soo Jong–‘Jong Bottle 2′

Bunchung-jar with iron-brown- drawing

Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami



Ree-Soo-Jong buncheng vase

Ree Soo Jong




Ree Soo Jong – Jong Jar 2

Mindy Solomon Gallery




1 Comment

  1. Tabawebbula Kivubiro
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Greetings to Master Lee Kanghyo!
    I remember you from the Ulsan Onggi festival. Your approach to making ceramics resonates with mine: making as ritual sourcing life and energy from the universe, channeling it into making and out into others through the objects we make! Meditating with and through each piece in search of life’s true meaning, listening, searching, deeper and deeper, learning more and more until death delivers us into eternal reality and happiness. Listening to you was really inspiring. I would like to visit your studio someday and would like to invite you to mine, when it is ready. I love music, listening and making, especially drumming and use music as a vehicle to transport me into the spirit-world, into the ultimate source of all: love, life, energy, creativity and happiness! Wishing you abundant creativity, love and happiness! Kivubiro

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