The collaborative work of Gerald and Kelly Hong is the result of a joining of minds,
aesthetics, and hearts. They first met at a show where they were both exhibiting their
individual ceramic pieces. Gerald’s work is very strong and solid in form and it is decorated
with geometric patterns, which are serene and rhythmic. Kelly’s work is more fanciful in
design and highly patterned with imagery drawn from nature. Out of this seemingly
disparate artistic approach, they found fundamental similarities in their work. Both of
them rely heavily on the Asian aesthetic and they both aim to create work which appears
both ancient, yet new, at the same time.
They also have two other important things in common…. smoke and fire. Gerald’s work is
fired in the Raku process and Kelly’s work is multiple fired porcelain with the final firing a
smoky sawdust firing which gives it a similar patina.
Gerald and Kelly married in 1996 and it seemed to be a natural progression to ‘marry’ their
work as well. While they still create individual work, they both enjoy working
collaboratively. They find the process exciting and they feel renewed and liberated by being
able to make work which would have never been created by either one of them alone.
When they sit down to design a new collaborative piece, they hammer out the design
together on paper. Various revisions are made, each giving their own suggestions about
form and surface. When a design is agreed upon, the piece proceeds. Gerald and Kelly each
make the parts in their respective methods that will be combined in the final result. It can
be thrown, slab built or sculpted. Design is impressed, incised or taped. Glazes are
airbrushed or inlaid. Sometimes, Gerald builds the piece and Kelly does the surface
decoration. That piece is then fired in the Raku process. Kelly adds the final decorative
elements, be they an intricate fiber finial or a bead to add an accent of color. The resulting
work is a combination of both of their artistic visions yet it still resonates with the essence
of their individual styles.