The poppy is a common symbol used to represent many things. When used on tombstones, poppies represent eternal sleep. This symbolism was in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with a mystical poppy field that could make one sleep forever. The symbology of this flower can also be imagination, messages delivered in dreams, beauty, success, luxury, extravagance.
The poppy is entrenched in cultural significance. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians connected poppies with sleep because of its sap’s sedative nature. Greeks related the flower to Morpheus, god of sleep. Victorians gave many meanings to it, most of which varied depending on its color.

The poppy’s earliest references, for medicinal and recreational use, are from the ancient land of Sumeria, now Iraq and Kuwait. With their cultivation of the flower, word spread and it became one of the most important and profitable products on the Silk Road. Civilizations rose and fell, yet this delicate flower endured.

More recently Britain and USA claimed the poppy as a symbol of remembrance of the sacrifice of soldiers’ lives in battle in WWI. This was made famous by the poem ‘Flanders Fields’. However, Japanese and Chinese cultures view the poppy as a representation of passionate love in a couple.

2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, hand-painted oxides with transparent glaze, crackled and gilded with gold enamel
9.5 x 10cm y 10 x 10cm, unique pieces
Parejas Series

While hiking, I came upon a place filled with purple flowers that stretchad as far as my eye could see. Their tufted tops looked like little bunny ears in the early summer sun filling me with delight and curiosity. My plant ID app said “Lavandula stoechas”, topped lavender, and said it grows wild all over Europe in different varieties. This particular type when found in France is called ‘French lavender’, in Spain it’s ‘Spanish lavender’.

Lavender’s origin is the Mediterranean, Middle East and India. Its history goes back some 2500 years. It’s a flowering plant of the mint family known for its beauty, its sweet floral fragrance and multiple uses. Its name is from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’. The Romans used Lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and even hair. They also discovered its medicinal properties.

Lavender is femininity all grown up. It represents refinement, grace, and elegance. And means purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace and calmness. Its color also comes with great symbolism. Purple is the color of royalty and luxury. Purple is also associated with the crown chakra, which is the energy center associated with higher purpose and spiritual connectivity. In the modern language of love, Lavender means “devotion and undying love”.

Devotion exists in many different kinds of relationships, from romantic to familial and in friendships. I created this ‘Parejas’ series to connect and be shared between two people, much like a friendship necklace is shared with each “half” of the whole to each person in the relationship.

2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, hand-painted oxides with transparent glaze, crackled and gilded with gold enamel
9 x 9cm y 9.5 x 8.5cm, unique pieces
Parejas Series

“It’s hard to tell the difference between sea and sky, between voyager and sea. Between reality and the workings of the heart.” – Haruki Murakami
The sea symbolizes the universal soul, it connects everything else to itself. Everything that exists is connected to each of us, and vice versa. The sea connects all things and every spring, raindrop, stream and river eventually leads us to the ocean. It reminds us that we are not alone.

The sky represents the spirit. It is inspiration, creativity and vitality. It also serves as a bridge between tangible matter and the ether that is the still space that contains and holds.

Seagulls in flight remind us to view life from different perspectives, solve problems by looking at them from different angles, and that we have the ability to rise and fly above our circumstances. That it’s time to take a different perspective on things. That solutions lie in changing attitudes towards problems at hand.

Life is made up of limitations and restrictions, some are beneficial, others work against us, most are self-imposed. This match set is a reminder that like the sea and sky, our souls and spirits are indestructible and without limit. How we see ourselves, others and life are the restrictions and limitations.

This pair is a question I asked myself and have spent the past 12-years answering. I’ve settled some parts and with other parts I’m still in search. Challenges in life will always arise, so I ask you this same question: how will you turn your pain and suffering into knowledge and wisdom?

2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, hand-painted oxides with transparent glaze, crackled and gilded with gold enamel
10.5 x 9.5cm y 9.5 x 8.5cm, unique pieces
Parejas Series
Although I’ve been a member of many different communities, it wasn’t until this year that I discovered my people – other Korean Adoptees (KAD) also healing, managing the resultant trauma of being taken, given up, abandoned, sold for profit by those who look to benefit from tragedy, and lost by the people we came from.

Two things occurred this year that had me thinking about my own origin story pre-assimilation survival mode.

One is the murders of 6 Asians (4 Korean women) in Atlanta GA by yet another disgruntled White hetero male taking out his issues violently on POC, this time the Asian women he fetishizes. The subsequent media take, insistence that the women were prostitutes, the recordings of the terrified survivors to 911… it all slapped me in the face.

The second is my hope to have my own kids, a biological relationship with another human that I’ve not had since age 2, going through IVF, and having it fail. I haven’t been able to talk about it much and even now emotions and tears rise and swell. Connecting with KAD and creating art are helping me through.

This tea bowl set is about all of the above, the mathematical “relationship” and third “circumstances” that exist between two people.

1 + 1 =3

My birth father, me and giving me up. My White mother, me and adoption. Being KAD, White society, and racism. My partner, myself, and our relationship. Having a baby. But this set is also about my birth father, me and forgiveness. My White mother, and understanding. Being KAD, White Society and demanding equality. Hope.

What do they and the representation of 3s mean to you?
2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, hand-painted oxides with transparent and matte glazes, crackled and gilded with gold enamel
10.5 x 7cm y 11 x 6.5cm, unique pieces
Parejas Series

The ladybug is the bringer of good things to humans: clothes and pots and jewels. These gifts are usually in gold, thus also the name ‘goldie bird’ for the ladybug in parts of England. The Celtic symbolism, from Ireland in particular, considers the ladybug as a sign of protection. These creatures protect plants from predators, in the same way faith protects the seeds of spirituality you plant in yourself. Similarly, when seeds of faith are planted within, they protect the heart and mind from doubts.

Ladybugs also represent a time of fruition of dreams and wishes. A master in the art of metamorphosis, they transform from a hideous larva to a beautiful insect adorned with bright colors. Maybe you have made or are considering making important changes in your life or have done so recently as I have… Ladybugs remind us to accept and appreciate our blessings in life.

On this set you see one ladybug on each tea bowl, for good luck, on fresh green. Is it a leaf, an abstract grass field, a blade of grass? Your imagination is the limit.

Like the ladybug, I underwent a transformation this year from curator to full-time creator. It’s been a long time coming. A seemingly impossible dream that unimaginable circumstances made possible laying the groundwork for change. With all challenges in life, there are opportunities for learning, growth and transmutation… to be better versions of ourselves, to speak our truth and heal, to form new healthy habits, to live life intentionally and in gratitude.

I couldn’t imagine that this would be my life a year ago.

Believe in yourself and dare!
2021 wheel-thrown ceramic, hand-painted oxides with transparent glaze, crackled and gilded with gold enamel
10 x 9cm y 9.5 x 9.5cm, unique pieces
Parejas Series

Relationships, with others and the one had with oneself. Dig deep.

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