Behind the Scenes: Artist Line and the W.O.W. Creative Team
Photo by Nate Brown
Wing on Wo & Co. debuts our artist line, which includes thematic collections made in collaboration with Asian American artists, ceramicists, and creatives. Each collection will take on a specific theme using porcelain and W.O.W.’s catalog of traditional porcelain patterns as an expression and medium to answer questions that connect narratives of identity and history to our present: how can we decolonize Chinese porcelain patterns and reinterpret them for our own Asian diasporic community? How can ceramic vessels encourage us to make our daily rituals sacred? How does iconography and symbols we see in our everyday life connect us?
W.O.W.’s inaugural artist line, our ritual and ceremony collection, centers on the theme of ritual and ceremony exploring questions: what rituals do we hold close and practice daily? How can ceramic vessels make these sacred?
Photo by Nate Brown
W.O.W. Artist Line’s creative director, Vivian Sangsukwirasathien, speaks about creating Wing on Wo’s Porcelain as Expression Zine and the process of developing the collection in this Q&A.
Can you speak more about the process of working with artisans in Jingdezhen?
The entire process was collaborative, bridging artists in New York with artisans in Jingdezhen. Tiffany Saw, the designer of the Togetherness Tray, attended a residency in Jingdezhen where she learned traditional carving techniques and adopted them into her own practice. Tiffany and the W.O.W. Creative Team narrowed in on particular motifs special to us and I worked with artisans in Jingdezhen to translate our artistic visions into reinterpretations of beloved, traditional prints while accounting for the technical and functional aspects of porcelain-making.
Initial Sketches of the Togetherness Tray
What does it mean to reinterpret tradition through a diasporic lens in your practice?
For this collection, we wanted to find a way to reclaim porcelain and its tradition by rooting in memories of life at home and childhood. Having worked at an auction house and with various galleries, it meant reflecting on traditional art historical views of porcelain and reconciling those views with my own personal experience of using and growing up with porcelain in a very casual way. In doing so, I hope that these pieces can feel more accessible in language and cultural history to relate and connect with those of the diaspora.
What was your inspiration for the motifs in the ritual and ceremony collection?
I wanted to include patterns based on motifs that are part of our childhoods and everyday life. We chose bok choy in particular because it is an everyday staple in Chinese culture and life; it’s commonly used in sculptures and I often see it being grown on apartment balconies or preserved and stored for the winter. I also think that bok choy is an integral pattern of W.O.W.’s collective history as a store and community space. I recall how bok choy is a beloved pattern by Mei’s grandmother when she sourced large dishes from Hong Kong and how Gary, Mei’s Dad, lured the lion dancers into the store using napa cabbage during Lunar New Year celebrations.
Bok Choy Sharing Bowl Set, Photos by Mischelle Moy
What do you see as the future of porcelain?
We envisioned the Porcelain as Expression zine as an offering-- an opportunity to rethink what porcelain practice would mean today and what it might look like for different artists. The zine offers a new way of interacting with porcelain and its history. I see this zine as a jumping-off point to view and interpret porcelain differently and inspire a rejuvenated way to transform and innovate different aspects of the porcelain-making process. This zine and collection were one of the most collaborative projects I’ve taken part in. The future of porcelain is definitely a collaborative one, and it has been such a great experience to build towards creating something greater than us!