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Vivian Shao Chen

Small Batch Ceramics

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Home Goods For Everyday Use

I make functional ware. I believe everything in one’s home can be both utilitarian and aesthetic.

 
 
 
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I’m Vivian.
I am the sole designer
and maker in my studio.

 
 

The functional ceramics you will find here are all made by hand in my small home studio in Philadelphia.

 
 
 
 
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They are all made with thought of how they are used, how they are held, and how they will fit in. I lean towards understated designs with subtle tactile details. The simple and neutral color palette is a stage for light and shadow.

With my background in architecture, all design thinking is rooted in spatial concepts. There is no light without shadow, and there is no object without space.

More about me, here.

 
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Small Batch Ceramics

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I produce my pieces in batches. From batch to batch, I like to choose a few things to vary, be it the choice of clay, or glazing technique.

 

Each batch takes weeks to make, from beginning to end.

The long process of making ceramics forces my studio into its own seasons.

Making in small batches is how I can work efficiently as a sole potter, but it has also allowed me to incrementally develop skills and design details, improving each new batch.

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My studio

 

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Clay as medium

I combine wheelthrowing and handbuilding techniques in order to create functional wares. I use various stoneware bodies and a simple collection of glazes to create a range of textures that I hope will give a tactile quality to each piece.

 

Clay is a patience-trying medium. It requires both a fast and a slow process. It has its own timings and behavior.

I try to let the clay speak for itself, opting for an unglazed surface in some pieces. Where glaze is used, it is applied in partnership with the clay. It is an different way of viewing the clay body, not a way of masking it.

 
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