Why did you choose to make a jewelry box out of porcelain?
Although not much has changed, many people thought of jars, vessels, or sculptures in relation to porcelain when I majored in Ceramics Arts. I have chosen to create a box for my graduation show mainly to break the prejudice, and I have decided to create a jewelry box out of it, as I have always loved accessories. I have never seen a jewelry box made of porcelain, but only of metal, wood, and plastic.
You must have encountered many difficulties because of the new attempt.
I had to learn everything from scratch through trial and error. I used plaster, which is water absorbent, to create the framework, and formed the outer apparatus by pouring liquefied clay into it. This is known as slip casting, and it is great for mass production. Then, I have drawn and colored the images in each piece by hand, so it has taken me eight hours just to create a lid. I cannot disregard this contradictory method because I believe that the time and effort I have devoted on this cannot be reproduced.
Please tell us more about the piece on the cover.
I came back to graduate school at a later time and decided to do what others could not. I ended up making both practical and artistic jewelry boxes.
The jewelry boxes, including the one on the cover, came in different shapes and designs, but they all have one thing in common. The patterns and shapes are created by collecting and scattering four pieces. However, this is not what I wanted in the beginning. I made several heart-shaped boxes and discovered in the kiln that they could make a four-leaf clover together. From there, I expanded the idea of rearranging the shapes.
What is your current world of art?
First of all, my pieces are not made into jiggering, but instead, they are turned into squares using the slip casting method. Then, Not only I coated them with lacquer but I also colored them with color pigments and decorated them with gold for rarity. Each piece creates a different mood with variations of sketches and patterns.
It is impressive to see the space divided and assembled as Lego blocks, as well as the beautiful colors used in hand-painted art.
In fact, this is where I put the most effort. In order to create the different colors that I want, I use low temperature paints, so I have to deal with a high proportion of defectives. When the paints produced for low temperatures are baked in a high temperature, they can either boil up or break off. For this reason, I conducted some experiments in order to sort out the colors that can withstand high temperatures to make my own recipes. It was disappointing, however, that some of the colors have been discontinued.
You must have experienced a lot of difficulties with this labor-intensive work.
I have to create a sketch based on an accurate calculation of the combination and repetition of geometric shapes and draw each image one by one. I cannot accept any errors, so it is time consuming. People tell me that the users might tolerate some color smudges or some traces of brush strokes because it is handpainted art, but for me it is not acceptable. Therefore, only about 50% of my pieces are successful. Moreover, since the four pieces make up one complete work, I have to discard all four pieces if one of them is defective. That is why it is time consuming and not very productive.
When it comes to porcelain, fire controls how it turns out no matter how hard you work.
That is true. I can design the most intricate pattern and do my best to color it perfectly; however, I cannot control the time in the kiln. That is probably why I feel like a fool. If it were for money or honor, I would not have endured it for the last 10 years. My family is still not fond of my job because I only get three to four hours of sleep with the care of children and all. Nevertheless, I am determined to take this path as porcelain artists who are destined to accept that the fire creates.
What do you want to do in the future?
It has been almost 10 years since I started this job. I have just marched forward without any purpose or goal, so I want to look back and convey some narratives and sentiments in my creations. I just realized that my daughter, who is so innocent and pure, has heart-shaped lips.
Therefore, I created combinations of geometric patterns that turn into the shapes of hearts and lips. I have also expressed someone’s pleasure in receiving a bouquet of flowers. I am planning to continue with this kind of storytelling.