Yoonjee Kwak


In this thesis body of work, I will explore the relationship between the medium of clay and myself. I will use clay to represent and record the traces of my memories. Clay allows me to tell the story of my memories that are left behind from diverse and unpredictable relationships between myself and others. In my work there is a direct relationship between the forms I construct and the inspirations behind the work. For example, I clearly remember when my father was in hospital toward his final stages of illness. I had always remembered him as being physically, a very strong person while in front of me, he was getting weaker and weaker.

I will be making vessels(containers) that capture my emotional memories from this time. My memories will be expressed by using precarious and fragile forms. These memories can be represented in my work through exploration of the duality between weakness and strength. The body of work is composed of sculptural vessels. I use this form to represent human beings as iconic symbols of the Korean culture. In Korea, when people talk about someone’s personality, we often use “vessel(container)” as a metaphor of one’s spirit of tolerance. For instance, when we talk about someone who is very generous or broad-minded, we say, “His vessel is big”. The structure of the vessel that gradually widens from a narrow base symbolizes human relationships; people can have deep or shallow relationships, or have both relationships at the same time. I will explore this theme through forms that are derived from minimalism, nature and geometry. I will use hand-building techniques, because the marks left by the fabricating process is very direct and leaves evidence of my physical interactions with clay.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ceramic sculpture--Themes, motives; Ceramic sculpture--Technique; Pottery--Themes, motives; Pottery--Technique; Memory in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Ceramics (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Richard Hirsch

Advisor/Committee Member

Jane Shellenbarger

Advisor/Committee Member

Robin Cass


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NK4235 .K93 2014


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes