Heejung Yang

Hee-jung Yang, the artist behind BROWNSMITH, reinterprets traditional Korean beauty with a contemporary sensibility. The brand name, meaning "a person who handles wood," reflects Hee-jung Yang's craftsmanship spirit.

Hee-jung Yang's journey began with a decade of experience in visual design. At a turning point in her life, she chose the new challenge of furniture making. Blending traditional decorative arts and woodworking techniques learned from master artisans of intangible cultural heritage with a modern sensibility, she established BROWNSMITH in 2017. Through this, she unfolds a unique artistic world where tradition and modernity harmoniously coexist.

Along with woodworking techniques, her signature piece, the soban (small portable table), is a work that elegantly applies the traditional geonchil (dry lacquer) technique. Geonchil is a sophisticated method of applying multiple layers of sap extracted from lacquer trees, giving the work unique durability and luster. This process involves covering clay or wood with hemp cloth and repeatedly applying lacquer. The geonchil technique not only enhances the artistic value of the work but also provides practical characteristics such as moisture resistance and excellent preservation qualities.

The nature of geonchil allows for the creation of complex and flexible forms, and the pieces are lightweight and easy to transport despite their size. Moreover, they maintain their beauty for a long time with minimal discoloration or corrosion.

Hee-jung Yang interprets these traditional techniques through modern design, naturally incorporating Korea's aesthetic heritage into today's living spaces. Each of BROWNSMITH's works strikes a balance between tradition and modernity, artistry and functionality, showcasing new possibilities in Korean craftsmanship.