Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Invitation to Tour

Updated Jan. 2015
Some years ago I received a letter from the renowned ceramic artist Bernard Leach.  As you may know, he was closely related to Japanese ceramics.  In his letter he wrote, ”One might think that my greatest love is Japanese ceramics but it is Korean ceramics that moves me most.”

Ulsan Onggi Potter (Double click images to enlarge)

Our ceramic tours to Korea are unparalleled.  On them you will meet many of Korea’s Intangible Cultural Assets and other outstanding artists in ceramics and possibly other fields.  Our more that 35 years of experience traveling to Korea has provided us the opportunity to meet many of Korea’s most renown and interesting ceramic artists.  For years before his recent passing we visited the last authentic roof tile maker in Korea who was consultant for the hand made roof tiles that replaced the tiles lost in the Namdaemun tragic fire.  I mention this because it exemplifies our insider knowledge on exceptional artists.  We personally know and visit the single person designated as a National Intangible Cultural Asset in Sagijang (ceramics), and the humble and spiritual tea ware artist who built his home with raw clay and trees he cut from the mountains. A personal friend is an internationally acclaimed tea bowl artist whose work is in international collections.  Of this Korean chawan artist's work the former director of Tokyo National Museum acclaimed, "I have not seen, until now, a piece of work that comes close to presenting the perfection of the old. I hope to keep his work close to my side always."
We visit the onggi potters who in 2010 hosted the most exciting onggi exposition in Korea’s history, and the dynamic contemporary ceramic artist some call 'The Picasso of Korean ceramics'.  You can meet them and many more as we explore how ceramics is now and has been a binding thread keeping Korea’s culture alive and vibrant.

   The Kiln at Gangjin
You will touch the heart of Korean ceramics as you travel throughout this beautiful land and meet its wonderful ceramic artists.  In the process, you might discover that you agree with Bernard Leach.

 Cheon Han Bong ICA
During our numerous ceramic research trips to Korea we have come to know many of Korea’s more significant ceramic artists.   These contacts enable us to introduce our Morning Earth Tour guests, to Korea’s Intangible Cultural Assets in ceramics and other fields.  In addition we have come to know some of Korea’s more distinguished contemporary ceramic artists as well.

Sangho Shin
Ceramics is everywhere in Korea.  Korea hosts the GOCEF Ceramic Biennale every two years in the cities of Gwangju, Icheon and Yeoju.  Their museums are open all the time. Gangjin, where the "best celadon in the world" has been made has a great museum complex and astounding artists. Ulsan has the largest onggi village in the world.  Mungyeong, Korea's tea bowl capital, is full of great potters.  Dotted throughout Korea are magnificent ceramic artists.  In addition, Intangible Cultural Assets from many other fields can easily be found. The opportunity to be immersed in Korea's rich culture, especially clay, is undeniable.

International Artist's Workshop at KOCEF

Park Chan Soo, ICA Buddhist Woodcarver

Ulsan Onggi
Imagine meeting some of the best ceramic artists in Korea in their homes and studios.  Imagine meeting personally with artists who have been designated as Korea's Intangible Cultural Assets - not just one but many.
Carrying Ulsan Onggi

Then imagine being there when a Ulsan onggi potter forms a large jar in a few minutes before your eyes and without hesitation lifts it with his friend and carries it to its drying area.  Korea awaits as you meet an art culture you can believe in.

Among the many adventures, you will visit is the most important teabowl village in Korea - Mungyeong.  This 1000-year old ceramic village is now home to three Intangible Cultural Assets in ceramics and many of the best tea ware artists in Korea.  What else?  Wait.  There are many more things ahead.   What I have mentioned represents just a small portion of what is possible on a Korean Ceramics Tour. 
Join this site to keep informed or contact us on Facebook.

Did you miss the 2013 GOCEF World Ceramic Expositions?  It is never too late to visit their exciting exhibits.  Join our 2015 GOCEF World Ceramic Expositions tour and we will make that happen.  
Can't make the tour at that time?  Plan a tour with some friends or even by yourself.  We have people on the ground in Korea who speak English and are waiting to welcome you.  The price is not much different than a group tour.  It is not too early to begin planning for your tour to visit Korea at a different time in 2015, 2016 or 2017.  See below for more information.
Our tours are priced as reasonably as possible often at no profit.   Our motivation is not money but the satisfaction that you will begin to understand the depth and beauty of Korea by meeting its people and experiencing its culture.

Note:  Some of our artist visits are by special invitation and not available without us as your host.  
We are not a commercial travel agency.  We are ceramic artists just trying to give back a little.  Please try to be patient as we attempt to continue our own work, maintain a few web sites and blogs and organize our tours.  We are very excited about our Korean ceramic tours.   Ask someone who has been on one.  (See below.) 
What is special about our Korean Ceramic Tour 2015?.  
In addition to visits to the many important artists, this tour will include a ceramic workshop, and the Korean tea ceremony.  This is a very unusual year.  Because of changes in their schedules, this year we are able to visit two of Korea's most prestigious ceramic festivals: The GOCEF World Ceramic Expositions and the Mungyeong Chassabal Festival (Tea bowl). This is a very rare opportunity.
Important Note: Please check with us to see if the two festival opportunity is really happening.  New festival schedules can change things very quickly in Korea.  Developing a tour to go to places is quite easy but scheduling a tour to visit people and even often shifting festival times is quite different.
 Contact us to learn more about our Spring 2015 tour.
“To read is to know.  To travel is to understand.” 

Individual and Small Group Private tours.!!
We have some exciting developments.  Morning Earth Korea now offers Four types of Korean Ceramic Tours:   1. Group Tours like our Spring 2015 Ceramics Tour, 2. Personal Group Tours, 3. Personal Tours and 4. Personal Workshop Experiences in Korea with or without a tour.  I'm sure that you can imagine what Group and the Personal Tours are but what is a Personal Workshop Experience?  We are very enthusiastic about Personal Workshop Experiences.  In brief, they are opportunities for one, two or possibly a few ceramic artists and/or ceramic teachers, who work with students at any level, the opportunity to experience personal workshops provided by some of the finest ceramic artists in Korea.  These can be one day, a week or more in length and they can cover nearly every aspect of Korean ceramic processes.  Each personal workshop experience  is uniquely developed just for you and your friend(s).  It may or may not involve a tour.  That choice is up to you.  We never accept more than four and recommend just two participants as some experiences are not available for more.  We also accept single participants in many cases.  These personal workshop opportunities are not available for those with very little or no ceramic experience. Contact us.  
However, we believe that anyone, who would like to experience Korean culture, would greatly enjoy our Group or Personal Tours.  Are you a family, ceramic society, Korean meet-up group, college ceramic department or other group of any size?  A Personal Group tour may be what you are looking for.  The tour's content can be very diverse to fit your group's interests even if you are not interested in ceramics.   In fact we have arranged tours for businesses that have nothing to do with ceramics connecting them to the right person in Korea.  Do you need a guide to speak a language you understand?  Contact us now to arrange your special personal tour.          
If you would like to learn more or reserve your spot on an amazing tour of any kind, please send us an email stating your interest. There is no obligation with that inquiry or reservation. Please "follow" this blog as we develop our next Korean Ceramic Tour and introduce you to some of the ceramic artists, places and events you and your friends will witness.  Contact us. 
We now have a Facebook page for Morning Crane Tea. You will find that posts there go far beyond tea.  We are also working on a website for Morning Earth Korea where you will be able to find much of what we are doing in one place.  That should be available soon.  Thank you for your interest.
Incidentally, and as a little 'bonus', the title photo of this blog comes from one of the oldest kilns in Korea that is still being used.  It is in Mungyeong.  To learn more about that kiln click here.  Use the "back" button to return to this site.
Would you like a few testimonies?  We hosted the Gangjin Experience tours for several years, click here to read what our guests have said.  Thank you for joining us. 


  1. Hi
    I took part in the Gangjin experience and the tour. It was an amazing experience. The hospitality, site, museum and artists we met were more than amazing. Thank you Arthur and Mary for this inspiring experience. I found the Korean people such noble and warm people that love and appreciate ceramics. we met so many amazing potters and ceramicists. I found that my current work is influenced so much by this experience. I think that anybody who can enroll in this tour should do it- it a must that will enrich your life.

  2. Thank you Shamai for this comment. With no budget to advertise we have to rely on "word of mouth". Comments like this authenticate the experiences we are trying to offer. You discovered what we did years ago - a wonderful people who have a great ceramic culture we can all believe in.