Re Jin Lee, better known as RJ, the artist behind the Brooklyn based Bailey Doesnt Bark ceramics company, has been handcrafting pieces in her studio since 2008. Her work drew such an audience that she quickly had to outsource help. Then in 2012 RJ welcomed her son into the world and decided to get back to her roots and connect with her customers on a more personal level. The Mini Series is just that, a re-launch, featuring a small collection containing one of-a-kind pieces delicately crafted by the lovely lady herself.
Words & Interview by Jess Hemenway/ Photography by Will Foster
Where do you live:
Describe your personal style:
Neutral and comfortable.
Favorite art exhibition:
James Turrell's "Meeting" at the MoMa PS1. You open the door to a room with seating all around and a square, open view to the sky. It's quiet and all you want to do is look up at the beautiful sky. It made quite an impression on me. It gave me a sense of peace.
Currently pining for:
When did you first begin your life as an artist?
Summer of 2008 when I signed up for my first ceramic class and opened my first shop (online).
Where did the name Bailey Doesnt Bark originate from?
Bailey is my dog. During the time I was trying to figure out the business name, I found myself telling people who'd ask about Bailey's (or Brussels') temperament: Bailey doesn't bark! - many times. Having a job where I could bring Bailey along became one of my priorities and she became one of the motivations for me to start a business. So naming the business Bailey Doesn't Bark felt right.
Who or what inspired you to get into art and sculpture more specifically?
Years ago, on a trip to Ireland I came across a book about an Irish artist named Harry Clarke. He was a wonderful stained glass artist and illustrator. His art inspired me to begin creating my own work. It was a strong push towards my new career. (I was working as a fashion stylist at the time.) Instead of applying my illustrations onto paper, I wanted to use functional wares (one of the reasons I signed up for ceramic class).
How would you describe your artistic style?
Uncomplicated - or at least I try.
How long does a piece take from start to finish?
It can take me 1 - 3 hours to build one piece, depends on how simple or intricate it is . Then the piece needs to dry completely (2 - 5 days, depending on the room temperature) and go through 1 of 2 kiln firing (from firing to cooling down takes about a day and a half). If the piece has hand painted details, it'll take 1 - 2 hours to paint and then glaze and finally left to dry and fired for the 2nd and final round (which will take another day and a half).
What is your favorite time of day to work?
Early afternoons - the skylight in my studio brightens up the space beautifully.
Is the Mini Series something you will continue? Any collaborations in the works?
I plan on releasing a new Series every season and just like the Mini Series, the pieces will be one of kind and individually numbered. There might be a collaboration happening in the near future fingers crossed.
What are your plans for the future?
Continue to make new series for each season, maybe add a special edition in between and make time to travel!
What does success look like to you?
Vacations with my family, that's success for me.
Whos your girl crush?
Michelle Williams, love her.
Thanks, RJ. Shop the Mini Series here.