Monday, 2 April 2018

Eden Pottery: Celadons and Korean Memories

Yes, it's like Eden, the Paradise. But this one's a paradise of celadon, ceramics, and porcelains created with superb artistry and craftsmanship.

Eden Pottery in Itaewon in Seoul, Korea, has been a go-to shop for locals and foreigners who want to snatch up some one-of-a-kind pottery creations either as souvenirs or gifts.

Mrs. Mison Kim, the owner of Eden Pottery sources these beautiful and elegant pieces from 18 locations in South Korea. Her shop has been around for 20 years, making it an institution in Itaewon where shops come and go with market volatility and increase in real estate rentals.

For many years, my friends living in Seoul have patronized Mrs. Kim's shop as all of her wares could easily transform into one's memories of living in Korea.

Those delicate pieces reflect Korean interpretations of classic shapes and designs, handpainted with Korean figures from nature and sceneries. 

These pieces of celadon, ceramics, or porcelain weren't churned out from a conveyor belt. They were individually made by the hands of Korean artisans from around the country, delicately handled, painted by artists' hands, and originally made of earth and created over fire.

They are unique and have been meticulously nurtured over time so that these beautiful symbols of Korea that would find its way into someone else's home, either in Korea or in another part of the world.

The huge pieces take especially long to create. Some require five months or more as they are created with and bathed in intricate details and carvings.

Well, I am not exactly one who could go out to buy some of these wares. So, the ones given to me as gifts ended up at my mom's dinner table like those heavy and long plates in the Philippines.

My friend Joy still enjoys her 'acquisitions' from Eden Pottery, like her male and female celadons with crane motif, and her two ladies in hanbok figurines.

Over the years, I have seen on my friends' dinner tables Mrs. Kim's earthenwares used as serving plates, and on their mantles, the unique vases and celadon figurines, among others.

And if you have purchased a few yourself, you can probably see from these photos celadons and ceramics similar to yours. I am sure my friends can. 

These pieces' prices range from the most reasonable of KRW2,000 per trinket item. But the huge and most unique ones can fetch as much as KRW8 million and more. 

Yes, they may be expensive but these, to me, are the best examples of Korean artistry and craftsmanship.

So, if you've lived in Korea and would want to get a unique remembrance of your stay here, you can always visit Mrs. Kim's shop. 

Or you can check out her shop if you're looking for a special gift for a special friend. These pieces will never disappoint as my friends and I have discovered all these years.

Eden Pottery is in Itaewon in Seoul. From Exit 1 of Itaewon Station, walk straight out for 180 meters until you see ABC Mart. Eden Pottery is right next to it. You won't miss its pink entrance. It is closed on Wednesdays.

Happy shopping! And don't forget to tell Mrs. Kim that Alfonso sent you! :-)

           (The entrance of Mrs. Kim's shop is a 
             delightful preview of what's inside)

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