MC Professors to Participate in 2011 Taipei World Design Expo

By: Ami Momaiya Staff Writer

On Friday, September 16, Montgomery College hosted a press conference in the Music Hall to announce faculty participation in the 2011 Taipei World Design Expo International Craft Design Exhibition.

The exhibition will take place from Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 30. The theme of this year’s Taipei World Design Expo is “Crossover: Symbiosis of Craft & Environment.” Seven countries will participate in the Expo, and the American Pavilion of the exhibition consists of fifteen artists. Eight of those fifteen artists were in attendance at the press conference, and it is an honor to inform you that two of those artists are Montgomery College professors.

Professor Komelia Hongja Okim, Crafts Coordinator (Jewelry, Metalsmithing, Enameling, Crafts), has been teaching jewelry and metalsmithing at MC for 39 years. She was asked to curate the American Pavilion of the exhibition. Initially she invited twenty American artists who she considered to be “exciting, dynamic and significant,” but due to financial and insurance constraints, only fifteen could display at the American Pavilion.

“These artists have been pursuing their careers in different places: in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC. They live and practice at a far distance from one another while sharing the rich cultures, diverse traditions, aesthetic sensibilities, values and professional endeavors.”

For one of these artists, she did not have to look farther than our very own Paul Peck Art Building. Professor Kevin Hluch, Ceramics Coordinator, created a brilliant piece of work using wooden rice cake molds that were once used to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Hluch’s theme statement was loaded with beauty.

“The individual elements in this work speak to the issues of the beauty found in the environment: the tradition of good fortune and well wishes for the individual human beings that inhabit our planet. By combining these unique, hand-crafted elements into a larger sculptural whole, the intent is to imply a desire of good fortune for our Earth as a whole.”

The artists that Okim curated for this exhibition work with media such as ceramics, metals, glass, beads, fibers, paints and prints. As diverse as the works were, with titles such as “Green Wedge” and “Not Always Green,” the artists themselves were even more diverse.

Joyce Scott of Baltimore introduced herself with a song, and proceeded to state that she chose glass “because, well, how much craftier can you get than that?”

Laura Peery of Chevy Chase is a ceramic artist whose piece, “Kindness Grows Just As Wild,” had quite the message. “The full quotation reads: ‘Sure, the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild.’ Yes, the world is full of horrors and things difficult to understand and to bear, but it is also full of wonder, beauty and love, things that sometimes appear when you least expect them.”

Those are certainly words that we can all live by.