Silversmith William Lee is the winner of this year's Craft Prize, an annual craft award given by the Culture Ministry and the Korea Craft and Design Foundation.
Lee, based in Seoul, studied silversmithing and metalwork at Camberwell College of Arts, part of the University of London.
He re-creates a form of traditional Korean ceramics with silver that features delicate flowing lines and subtle marks that appear to be melted on the surface.
Lee's silver objects -- such as vessels and jars -- are created exclusively by hand hammering, a basic technique that has been central to his artistic practice. Lee’s creations include a 50-centimeter-tall silver moon jar created out of a silver panel that weighs 11 kilograms, made by hammering only.
Lee rose to international prominence after winning the Young Designer Silversmith Award given by Goldsmiths’ Company, a British foundation that supports goldsmith training and craft artists. The company received its first royal charter in 1327.
The Craft Prize 2023 award ceremony will take place at the Craft Trend Fair to kick off Dec. 14 at Coex in Seoul. The award comes with a cash prize of 15 million won ($11,200).
Inaugurated in 2018, the annual Craft Prize is given to craft artists or institutions that have contributed to promoting the beauty of craft art at home and abroad. Previous winners of the award include ceramist Kim Hye-jung in 2022, glass artist Kim Joon-yong in 2021 and furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon in 2020.
Another prize given to a company or institution that helps introduce craft artists or support their works went to Korea Zinc, a refined zinc-producing company in Seoul, for its contributions to promoting young craft artists in the country since 2013.