Many of the pottery shops at the Oegosan Pottery Village were selling mass produced, possibly machined pottery, but I wanted something unique. Something that looked like it was made by a person and felt like it too. Luckily there was one shop that was this way. Before going into the shop, I noticed the pottery on the outside. Unlike the other shops, it did not have rows and rows of onggi, rather it had a small stack of large pots and walking up to it was like stepping down into another land. Not one made for Korean and foreign tourists, but one made for a potter who loves their work. There were even some old pots on the roof which added to this feeling.
To the right of the shop was the studio and inside sat work benches that had seen good use. The only “clean” spot being where the artist sat. The smell of the studio, wet clay, reminded me of my pottery classes and all other associated memories. I was transported, to an international land of craft and artistry.
Stepping back into the sunlight and looking through the windows of the shop, I was excited. This is what I was looking for. A small shop, with a small quantity of pottery on display: tea cups and bowls, some flower pots and cups. Each piece had the artist’s stamp on the bottom and the sizes and shapes were as they should be. A little irregular, not perfect, with slight variations in glazes and coloring. Just enough create a dilemma with decisions. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to get to hear the artists talk about their work, but sometimes I don't know what questions to ask and of course the language barrier makes it difficult.
After looking around the shop with an eye for detail, touching things, mulling things over and finding a bowl I was in love with, I decided I would still check out the other shops before buying. My philosophy is, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” I walked out of the shop, with my heart strings being pulled toward that bowl and those tea cups, and checked out the other shops. No others were like this one. None had quite the same ambiance, and there were fewer shops and studios than I originally thought. So, after a bit I returned with a budget in my mind. The shop lady recognized me, grabbed her calculator and showed me the prices. Then I went over to the bowls, the one I wanted was still there, and I looked through the others more thoroughly. After my purchase, I was satisfied. I had accomplished what I wanted for the day.