Vivian Shao Chen is a ceramicist.
I make wheelthrown and handbuilt functional sculptures for your home and kitchen, designed to be used every day, to be a part of your rituals and routines. I make ceramics because there is something completely satisfying about having something utilitarian that also makes you mindful of your physical environment more. These are objects for everyday use.
I search for simple shapes, happy accidents, and a neutral palette. I like to find subtle nuances in proportion and detail that make each piece interesting and beautiful. Everything is made in small batches, each batch exploring a different aspect of a shape or texture. I make all my work by hand in my small home studio.
My background in design is based in architecture school. All of my design thinking and methodologies come from spatial concepts. I love wide open spaces, inside and out. But my interests lie in seeing the duality of our experiences. There is no light without shadow, and there is no object without space.
Beyond all of the conceptual thinking, I most of all love to make everything by hand. I grew up in Montreal, where my parents owned a clothing manufacturing business and factory. I spent childhood summers in the factory. I sewed things on my own in a corner when I was very young, and then eventually started helping with the factory production. Beyond having an affinity for the tactile nature of handcrafts, it is about learning each material’s processes and constraints that really motivates my work. Respecting the material is the foundation of my craft, whether I am throwing on the wheel, glazing, sewing, or cooking.