SNAG Celebrates: Komelia Okim

August 2, 2019

SNAG Celebrates_feature

SNAG Celebrates

SNAG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Komelia Okim

Introduce yourself (background, education, preferred mediums/styles, etc.)
I am a Korean-American and came to the US during my senior year at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, majoring Fiber Arts (Contemporary). I later received my BA (Fiber/Metal) and MFA in Metals from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. I have participated in 30 invitational exhibitions, including a solo show at Honolulu Museum of Art.  These exhibitions were held in such locations as Korea, Canada, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris.  I have also participated in 130 workshops & lectures at universities and crafts organizations around the world, in places like Russia, Taiwan, China, Japan and many more.  I create hollowares & jewelry using hammer raising techniques— I am mainly interested in landscapes and people with their hair blowing.  Lately, I am interested in adding Korean surface techniques highlighting Keum-boo (Korean style Damascene, hammer-chisel-engraving and sumac lacquering on silver surfaces to prevent tarnishing as well as decaying from food or ash.)

What are your goals in creating the work that you do? Are there any concepts you are particularly interested in?
I want to create sculptural objects—whether they are wearable, fictional or decorative.  I wish to create objects with concepts of landscaping and people in the setting designed to be both allegorical and highly decorative on the surfaces.

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?
My work represents allegorical and narrative objects carrying mysterious stories behind them. Recently, I’ve been trying to add my heritage of Korean backgrounds—melding Korean-American cultures and traditions.

Komelia Okim brooch
A silver brooch by Komelia Okim

How and when did you arrive at your membership with SNAG?
I joined during my graduate school in 1972, from SNAG’s 2nd Conference in New York City.

How have you witnessed SNAG (and metalsmithing in general) evolve since first beginning your membership?
I used to be classified as a senior selected member, but over time memberships became general for whoever can pay the membership fee. This system is great, although it has no distinctions between professional, junior and/or hobbyist’s memberships.

What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish or achieve in 2019?
I want to work more in adding my past heritage/ethnic cultures/techniques and introduce them globally in my own work as a Korean-American Metalsmith/Jeweler. At my senior currier as an artist/past educator, I am organizing my works to find appropriate resting places to house them. Furthermore, I am planning to employ assistant(s) to produce and design my line of metal art pieces for wearing and table top pieces for next year.

Komelia Okim 1 Komelia Okim 2

Komelia Okim 3

Komelia Okim 4
Examples of Komelia’s sculptural objects


To learn more about Komelia and her work, visit


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