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Oral history interview with Chunghi Choo, 2007 July 30-2008 July 26

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Catalog Data

Choo, Chunghi  Search this
Milosch, Jane  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Thomas, Richard C. 1917-1988  Search this
Bush, Cody  Search this
Chateauvert, Jocelyn  Search this
Kaufman, Glen  Search this
Fujio, Yuho  Search this
Grotell, Maija  Search this
McFadden, David Revere  Search this
Kao, Ruth  Search this
Lechtzin, Stanley 1936-  Search this
Lee, Sang-Bong  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Mayer-VanderMey, Sandra  Search this
Saarinen, Loja  Search this
Raab, Rosanne  Search this
Merkel-Hess, Mary  Search this
Park, No Soo  Search this
Smith, Paul J  Search this
Yeun, Kee-ho  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art Students  Search this
University of Iowa Faculty  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Faculty  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts Students  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
University of Northern Iowa  Search this
Victoria and Albert Museum  Search this
Ihwa Yŏja Taehakkyo  Search this
Museum für Kunsthandwerk Frankfurt am Main  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Physical description:
Transcript: 75 pages
Sound recordings
Korea (South)
2007 July 30-2008 July 26
April Revolution, 1960
Originally recorded 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 22 min.
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Chunghi Choo (1938- ) is an educator, metalsmith, jeweler, and textile and mixed media artist from Iowa City, Iowa. Interviewer Jane Milosch is a curator from Silver Spring, Maryland.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
An interview of Chunghi Choo conducted 2007 July 30-2008 July 26, by Jane Milosch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Choo speaks of establishing the Metalsmithing and Jewelry program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; the elaborate equipment, tools, and safety protection used in the studio; her experience teaching silent metalforming at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine; participating in international workshops and seminars in Korea; the extensive world traveling she does with her husband, Dr. Charles Read, including destinations in Scandinavia, Thailand, Austria, Italy, and South Africa, among others; the house she designed in Iowa City; her love of the city and being surrounded by treasured friends, a supportive university, and beautiful environments; an interest in creative cooking and appreciation for diverse dishes from all around the world; her childhood and young adulthood in Inchon, Korea; growing up with an appreciation for beautiful art objects and classical music; an early interest and talent in drawing; attending Ewha Women's University as generations of women in her family had previously; experiences during the Korean War and April 19 Revolution in 1961; coming to the United States in 1961 as a student; studying English, ceramics, enameling, and stone cutting for one semester at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C.; attending Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and studying metalsmithing with Richard Thomas, ceramics with Maija Grotell, and weaving with Glen Kaufman; living with Mrs. Loja Saarinen during her three and a half years at Cranbrook; teaching general craft at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Rapids from 1965-1968; pioneering the mixed-media studies with her students at UNI; accepting the challenge to build a metalsmithing and jewelry program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1968; learning and teaching electroforming; the development of the electro-appliqué technique; extensive donor support and fundraising for the Metalsmithing and Jewelry program and its students; finding inspiration in nature, East Asian calligraphy, classical music, and travel; her long friendship with Jack Lenor Larsen and the great influence he has had on her work; being represented in major art museums and institutions world-wide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Museum fur Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt, Germany, and many others; the joy she has when her students succeed and surpass her; and plans for future work, writing projects, and travel. Choo also speaks of the 2008 flooding of Iowa City and the state of Iowa during which her studio was severely damaged and many things were lost. Choo also recalls Park, No Soo; Lee, Sang Bong; Ruth Kao; Stanley Lechtzin; Yuho Fujio; David McFadden; Paul J. Smith; Rosanne Raab; Cody Bush; Jocelyn Chateauvert; Mary Merkel Hess; Sandra Mayer-VanderMey; Kee-ho Yeun, and others.
Repository Loc.:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560
(5 mini discs) IM100RC.103
(7 compact discs, dups) CD cabinet, dr01
(Transcript: online) OH063 and choo07
(OH digital files: network accessible) NAS09
Women artists  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Korean War, 1950-1953  Search this
Jewelers  Search this
Jewelry making--Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making--Technique  Search this
Jewelry making--Study and teaching  Search this
Metal-work  Search this
History  Search this
Local number:
AAA choo07
Restrictions & Rights:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information
Data Source:
Archives of American Art