Sowon Joo


My work tells the story of life and living. We all experience birth and death, and many complicated life events and changes occur during the living of a life. What I deem the most important areas of life are the rites of passage that everyone commonly experiences. The essential passages are birth and death, and between these two events, we all experience physical and intellectual development and growth. Throughout this thesis, my work expresses these rites of passage by metaphor.

In addition to metal, several of my sculptural forms incorporate painting on canvas and sculpted wood: the painting providing atmosphere and the wood supporting the metal form like a pedestal. My primary material, however, is metal. For my main subjects I use fine silver because of its warm white color and its characteristic shine after continuous use. The painting and wood are strictly for supporting my metal forms.

My work is not meant simply for artistic appreciation. My sculpture and jewelry are functionally viable; they can be used in real life, and this will make people feel more attached to my work. My work speaks about the sincerity of our thinking and actions in this life, about living, and even about the larger world, through their embodiment in ordinary objects that we can have close to us.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Metal sculpture--Themes, motives; Metal sculpture--Technique; Silver jewelry--Themes, motives; Silver jewelry--Technique; Buddhism and art; Life in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Metals and Jewelry Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Leonard Urso

Advisor/Committee Member

Wendell Castle

Advisor/Committee Member

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NB1220 .J66 2008


RIT – Main Campus