Chunghi Choo – Metal hollowware

World-renowned metalsmith Chunghi Choo, an extremely versatile artist with significant work in textiles and jewelry, is best known for using electroforming to create aesthetically fluid and technically fresh metal artworks. Choo’s lyrical objects are visually compelling, organic and graceful.  “I like my hollowware pieces to be used and add pleasure to daily life through heightened sensuousness and a feeling of celebration”, she says. 

Born in Korea, Choo practiced contemporary art and brush calligraphy and studied history and theory of Oriental and Western art. In the U. S, she studied metalsmithing, jewelry, ceramics and weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Arts. 

 She is named Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa, where she established an internationally prominent metals program, with many of her students going on to achieve critical acclaim. She considers this successful endeavor as her most cherished accomplishment. She has received many awards, among which are the national Distinguished Educator Award from the James Renwick Alliance. 

Choo’s work can be found in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

Mary Lee Hu – Metal jewelry

Known internationally as a masterful and passionate weaver of metal, Mary Lee Hu is described by ceramicist Patti Warashina, who received the Smithsonian Visionary Award in 2020, as being “in a class of her own” whose artistic talents have broadened and enriched the aesthetic of the field of contemporary studio jewelry”.

Beginning in her student days, Hu developed her own technique of using textile methods – looping, wrapping, weaving and most notably twining – to create graceful wearable forms, some representational and some abstract.  She works almost exclusively in gold, and her work reflects a modern sensibility while including the powerful elements of rhythm, repetition and pattern that characterize much ancient and ethnic art.

Beyond making her jewelry, Mary Lee Hu has spent many years teaching contemporary art jewelry, primarily at the University of Washington, where she wrote a curriculum around the global history of body adornment. She is a past President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and her work is found in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Mary Lee Hu and Chunghi Choo will receive the Smithsonian Visionary Award at the Smithsonian Craft Show on May 3, 2023 at the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.