Re Jin Lee
Re Jin Lee
— Born in Sao Paulo and of Korean descent, we’re curious to know if you are influenced by this city and culture through day to day living and your work?
It wasn’t until later (already into my ceramics career) that I realized how much the city of São Paulo and the Korean art culture influenced my work. I was always drawn to modern architecture, while at the same time being enamored with colonial Portuguese structures. My life was “Brazilian” outside and “Korean” inside our home. My mom was an artist and she exposed me to a lot of Korean arts including traditional pots and vases, which I still appreciate very much. I am Korean/Brazilian and my husband is Irish. I believe both of our countries and cultures influence our day to day living, while blending into the American culture.
— Can you recall your first experience with clay, and how you navigated the change of careers from the fashion industry to a self-taught ceramics practice?
I can recall many moments as a kid being immersed in mud. Every weekend we’d go to a park to meet with friends and play “imagination” with mud. While I had sporadic experiences with clay growing up it was only in my thirties that I became fully invested, soon after a short career in the fashion industry.
The change of careers was somewhat organic and not a planned move. I was searching for the passion I wanted to have for my work. I began recalling things I enjoyed doing before I began my career and one of the things was drawing. From then I began applying my art on ready-made ceramics and eventually making my own clay surface. Now I believe my sculpture forms represent the blend of line drawing and structure. Journey…and also that I could control the flow…
— You had a studio in Greenpoint for a while, with a group of female creatives. When did you decide to move upstate, and what does this new location, including your custom built studio, provide for you and your work?
It was after a couple of years of leaving Dobbin Mews that we moved to the eastern part of Westchester - not quite upstate. We live in Pound Ridge which is considered to be a semi-rural town. Quite a change from living in Greenpoint. My new studio is bigger than any studio I had living in NYC. Having the space definitely gave me the opportunity to work on a larger scale. Living in nature also provided me with an abundance of inspiration and materials to explore with.
— We love the sound of your Unwind Retreats. Can you tell us about what you offer with these, and some of the experiences of those involved?
I’ve always wanted to share the wonders of working in clay with others. To me, not only is it fun to create with clay, but also very therapeutic. The intention of Unwind Retreat is to provide you with a day of relaxing using clay as a medium to do so. While playing with clay takes up the majority of the day, we also have a moment to enjoy nature and practice restorative yoga. A delicious lunch is prepared on site by our wellness chef.
— How has motherhood informed your work and way of life?
Right before my first child was born, my priorities shifted greatly. I was able to use my time at work more efficiently and became more productive during work hours. I trained myself to only work during those work hours and not work at all on weekends to enjoy family life. I became more appreciative of a slow-paced life and now that we are living outside of the city, we practice a slow-paced life.