Share an experience that changed your perspective.
I went to Korea to source art for Namu Home Goods in the spring of 2020. By that point I was a burnt-out perfectionist with a voice in my head that was critical, demeaning, and unrelenting. When I met the dozen or so woodworkers in Korea I was set to launch my heritage woodwork business with, I saw a pretty obvious throughline. These people had a deep reverence for nature and what the trees have taught them: Namely, to let go of control and the beauty of a simple, creative life. They work with wood because the wood teaches them they can't win against nature, but to follow the patterns and grains of what has been set in front of them. There's a perverse obsession with perfection in the Western world, but these artists taught me there was a different way to go about living a fulfilled life with the philosophy of imperfection.
Namu Home Goods is an international exchange from Artisan to collector, what do you enjoy most about creating collaboratively?
I'm a perpetual student. I love to learn something new – even down to new ways of cleaning my bathtub...my best friend calls me a data hoarder because if I hear about a new topic that interests me I must know EVERYTHING. To that end, I enjoy learning about the artists and their lives. They're such fascinating and interesting people who have the most beautiful philosophy on living life slowly. It's something I think the Western world could benefit from.
What is something you have never done or tried before that you want to experience?
I'm in the early stages of working on a documentary about the Namu Home Goods artists to share the aforementioned philosophy. I've never told a story through this medium – it's an incredible challenge. I want to experience selling this documentary to a big distributor to get the Namu Home Goods artists' story on the world's stage! They deserve to tell their stories and for the masses to experience their special gifts and contributions.
What is something you recently learned that lights you up?
In the 13th century, a man named Yu Cheong-Sin traveled from Korea to China as a merchant. He brought back two walnut seeds and planted them both in his hometown Cheonan. Generations later, Cheonan is the largest Walnut producing city in the country. It's such a beautiful story of what the potential impact of the smallest acts can generate. I hope that I am planting seeds as I move through my life, too.
When do you feel the most free?
When I don't set an alarm clock. Granted, after working almost 15 years in a corporate job, I can never sleep past 6:30 or 7 am, but it's a beautiful thing to wake up blinking slowly because the light is changing in the room. I've even started to turn my phone off at night and I swear I sleep more soundly.
What do you love most about yourself?
I cry. I cry when I hear the crescendo swell in a song, I cry when I see a puppy hurt, I cry when I see people exchanging vows. I cry when other people cry! I feel deeply and I think it's my superpower.
You are having an off day, what is your first move to getting centered?
I just started doing the Morning Pages from The Artist's Way. Whew, what a powerful tool. I sit and write a stream of consciousness blah, blah, blah for 3 pages. It's journaling, but with the express intent to get any mental blocks out of my brain in order to open the channels to creativity. I can physically FEEL the energy shifting as I write. It's a practice I'd love to pursue forever. In the evenings, I end my day with a walk. There's a beautiful park near my house with rolling hills and crisp, green air and a little creek. I can do a deep inhale and say hello to the trees and I feel better.
When do you feel the most seen?
It's hard to be truly seen when you're an "other" in America. I feel the most safe at home with my husband, artist Joseph Lee. We both support each others' creativity and neurosis and our house is a hub of ideas. There's a lot of "Hey what do you think about...." or "I had this idea....". When we come home it feels like we're taking off a mask and can truly be who we are in our full creative power.
What is your most beloved experience with water?
Water is regenerative for me. I'm a Pisces! I take hot baths with On & On Frankincense body wash and sleep deeply afterwards.
You have a special friend you want to get a holiday gift for, who are they & what do you give them?
The curation we did in conjunction with Namu Home Goods and ON&ON embodies what I'd like to give to all my friends and loved ones: the wisdom trees share with us. Trees teach us to let nature lead, let go of control, and know innately that a season won't dictate our lives. The pieces Namu Home Goods and ON&ON curated together are a good reminder of this philosophy. I'd also include a Yin Power – as a love note to all the deserving women in my life.