From a climbing plant to a unique design!

How does a goldsmith trainee transform her inspiration?

Many things are a cre­at­ive impulse for SeJeong. What she sees and hears in her daily life can lead to a spe­cial jew­ellery idea.


Like seeing an Eng­lish ivy climb­ing up a tree, almost wrap­ping around it. SeJeong takes photos, makes a sketch and starts her brain­storm­ing pro­cess. She fur­ther explores her ideas with mini metal wire sculp­tures and vari­ous paper models. She is not yet cer­tain which piece of jew­ellery will emerge out of her explor­a­tion.

She decides that the idea of entwin­ing around a part fits a jew­ellery piece for the ear. She devel­ops   3 dif­fer­ent ideas and saws them out from a fine sheet of brass. A craft tech­nique that requires patience and fine motor skills.

No wonder that the sawing blade is SeJeong's favour­ite craft tool.

"Sawing is like a med­it­a­tion for me. I can con­cen­trate com­pletely on this work and forget everything else."

Why is a young South Korean woman training to be a goldsmith in Germany?

At the age of 23, Se Jeong makes her first trip to Europe and is fas­cin­ated by the art and cul­ture in Italy and Spain. After study­ing lit­er­at­ure in Seoul, South Korea. Her first job takes her to the advert­ising depart­ment of a big com­pany. She finds her work not ful­filling enough. Since her child­hood she also has the idea of study­ing some­thing more creative/artistic. SeJeong decides to follow her inner voice and to apply at the renowned Kook­min Uni­ver­sity. Luck­ily, she can start her jew­ellery design stud­ies with a schol­ar­ship – in a class with 10 female stu­dents. Her pro­fess­or, who stud­ied jew­ellery design in Ger­many at the Uni­ver­sity of Pforzheim, also gives them an insight into German design style. After gradu­at­ing, she works for a jew­ellery com­pany in Seoul. The pure ‘Design part’ and ‘mar­ket­ing’ is her respons­ib­il­ity in the South Korean work­ing envir­on­ment. The old mas­ters with their tech­nic­al know-how and long­stand­ing skills devel­op and work out the crafts­man­ship pro­cess.

She is fas­cin­ated by their artis­anry and wants to learn the gold­smith craft. So, she bravely takes the step to go to Ger­many, learns the for­eign lan­guage and applies at two famous Gold­smith Craft col­leges in Pforzheim and Hanau. Since trav­el­ling and gain­ing new impres­sions are part of her cre­at­ive design pro­cess, Hanau is her first choice - the Frank­furt Air­port is nearby.

How important is courage in life - and in design?

This is an emo­tion­al ques­tion for SeJeong that moves her a lot.

“I said to myself: Be cour­ageous! If you don't have cour­age, then you can't change your life. In South Korea, I noticed my great fear of this change. But I can only change some­thing myself. So, I booked a German course at the Goethe Insti­tute, a 'one way' plane ticket, can­celled the lease for my flat in Seoul. This gave me a lot of self-con­fid­ence to take the next steps. When I arrived in Ger­many, I had to open up a bank account with my begin­ners German, apply for a visa and had to find a flat. Luck­ily, I met a lot of nice Ger­mans who helped me a lot.”

It is also import­ant for SeJeong to follow her inner voice during the design pro­cess. This leads her to create unique designs for her jew­ellery – even while work­ing on a school task pro­ject in her class.

How important is the topic of 'environmental awareness' in South Korea?

SeJeong knows that the topic of ‘Fairtrade gold’ and ‘Recyc­ling’ is not yet very import­ant in South Korea. In the coming years, she likes to include these aspects also in her work and designs.  She got to know and appre­ci­ate the German atti­tude "Everything doesn't always have to be new to be valu­able". Old pieces of jew­ellery with their own his­tory and emo­tion­al value are also a source of inspir­a­tion. SeJeong then reforges them into a spe­cial design piece - in her work­shop in Seoul. This is next cour­ageous step she wants to make!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

"I would like to work for some time in Italy, in Florence. I always find and see spe­cial sources of inspir­a­tion there and of course art and cul­ture are every­where. I also have good friends in the gold­smiths' quarter, and we had many stim­u­lat­ing con­ver­sa­tions within the cre­at­ive com­munity there."

Name: SeJeong Choi

She makes:

a voca­tion­al train­ing to be a gold­smith

She likes:

a cup of tea in the morn­ing, the Prado in Madrid, Italy and taking photos

She admires:

Mar­gret Thatch­er, who has asser­ted her­self in male-dom­in­ated polit­ics

Her WIASOLA advice:

"Be brave! Only you alone can change some­thing in your life."

Her 5 favour­ite songs:

  • West Side Story 'Tonight' 
  • Park Hyo Shin 'Miss­ing'
  • J.S.Bach -Igor Levit 'Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme'
  • Notre dame de paris 'Le temps des cathed­rales'
  • Adele 'Sky­fall'

To be found under:

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