This teapot demonstrates a unique way of creating organic and curved lines, which can be seen in the handle. Chunghi Choo’s calligraphy brush strokes served as the inspiration for the handle and knob. According to Choo, the “sweeping movements of the brush…give it a flowing line of energy.”[1]

Chunghi Choo studied oriental painting, including Chinese brush calligraphy, for her BFA from Ewha Womans University in Korea. She later studied metalsmithing for her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. These two areas of expertise influenced the design and method of creation for this teapot.

The teapot was made through the process of electroforming, in which a conductive layer of metal is put onto a base form, later removed, which then attracts the metal that the final form is made from, forming a solid piece of metal.[2] According to Choo, she used a silicon rubber mold for the teapot shape and then cast it in wax. She electroformed directly onto the wax, so that it could be melted out when she was finished, thus leaving the hollow form of the teapot. The teapot was silver-plated separately from the electroforming.

Chunghi Choo currently teaches art, specifically jewelry and metal arts, at the University of Iowa, where she has been teaching since 1968. She prides herself on the use of non-conventional materials in her and her students’ work and the techniques that they have developed and refined in order to create “diverse and innovative artworks.”[3] Works by Choo and her students are on display in many museums around the world.

This teapot is now on view in the Cooper Hewitt exhibition Making Design and was previously featured in the Cooper Hewitt exhibition Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730-2008 which highlighted the organic impulse in design.

 

Audrey Sutton is a graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program at the Cooper Hewitt, and is a Fellow in the Product Design and Decorative Arts Department.

 

[1] Chunghi Choo, Artist’s statement submitted to the Cooper Hewitt by the artist.

[2] “Electroforming,” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroforming

[3] University of Iowa, “Chunghi Choo” : http://www.art.uiowa.edu/people/chunghi-choo

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