I was born in 1935 in Jeonghyeon, Haman County, South Gyeongsang Province. It's hard to tell my story without mentioning my mother and her family, as I spent most of my childhood with them. While they did live nearby, there were other reasons why I was so close to them.

As the first daughter-in-law, my mother absolutely had to bear a son. My maternal grandfather worried so much for his daughter that he called her home often, taking care of her and giving her special herbs so she could have a son. Finally, after a long while, I was born.

For a long time, my paternal grandfather wouldn't give me a name. But one day he saw my mother crying on the way from dinner to his room, and so finally I was named "Eul Soon." Fearing that my mother would be blamed for not producing a son and ending the family line, my father sent us away to be with my mother's family: My father knew how much his own mother had suffered to bring him into the world.
My mother was the second daughter of Yi Su-chang, a court official under Emperor Gojong. Her family was descended from Prince Hyo-ryeong, setting them apart even among the yangban elite due to their royal blood. Growing up, I was always surrounded by my mother's family: grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

My grandmother loved flowers. All summer long there were red and white roses growing on vines, and she grew rhododendrons, peonies and hydrangea as well. I remember being scolded once for cutting my grandmother's skirt to make flower petals.

I remember also picking persimmon leaves with my aunt and making tea. One day we went out early to pick safflower petals. After putting away the safflower clumps we had collected to use later as a clothing dye, we put on our safflower-tinted ceremonial clothes to prepare for jaesa ancestral rites.

My mother's family observed the jaesa rites differently from others--even then they still placed silk flowers atop the jaesa offerings of food for our ancestors. My grandmother, mother and aunts would make the flowers, and I would help, staring as they worked.
After graduating from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, I went to live in the southern port city of Busan, where my father had established himself after working various jobs.

My mother had helped my father set up a cotton textile assembly plant that also did dyeing-it would later become Taechang Enterprises. It was about that time that I married a college professor, Dr. Choi Wi-gyeong, and went to study in Japan. Going to another country, I felt a sense of patriotism emerge. Even as a child during the Japanese colonial period, I had learned the ways of Joseon Dynasty court life and culture when I helped my family make chaehwa silk flower arrangements, developing practice by copying their every move. It was a practice that would shape my entire life.

When I returned home in 1969 and celebrated with my first solo exhibitions, there were already countless large-scale exhibitions going on. It was then that, as a flower artisan, I was given the beautiful name "Su-ro."

I then devoted myself to academia, studying graduate history at Dong-A University to strengthen my intellectual foundation in cultural preservation while gathering well-researched materials on Korean flower culture. Ready to absorb the insights of whoever could teach me, regardless of their age or status, I went simply to learn. Though there were times when I felt that I had hit the limit, I would continue to study in a crammed research room, sometimes neglecting my personal exhibitions. But I continued to attend public exhibitions every year. It was these activities that would pave the way for the establishment of chaehwa flower arrangement-related exhibition halls and research institutes.

Flowers had awoken something in me, allowing me to uncover the hidden flowers and present them to the world. The Joseon tradition of royal silk flower arrangement has become one with my own blood and tears, running through my veins like life's flower.