Can you imagine turning paper into porcelain? I was awed when I read about the idea, and totally amazed and impressed when I realised the lengthy and detailed production processes.
Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2013 would like to introduce Teo Huey Ling, the person behind this alternative ceramics artwork.
Huey Ling is a practising visual artist who specialises in ceramics, having gone through a 3-year apprenticeship in a bowl and plate-making ceramic workshop in Malaysia before going on to further study in Australia.
She shares a work space with three other artists at the Bedok Industrial Park where they have a kiln to fire ceramics art pieces.
Although she prefers to spend more time on her art works, the NAFA graduate also teaches part time in many places, sometimes in primary schools, mostly in NAFA and Temasek Polytechnic, covering subjects like 2D drawing and painting to 3D clay and wire.
Through our interview, Huey Ling expressed her observation of a conservative and repetitive local ceramics environment due to the demand for more functional ceramic ware. However, in her opinion, the word ceramics should transcend beyond functionality into something more contemporary. What is interesting is that her porcelain art works are made of a diverse range of materials, including rice papers and even wool that are used for felting. Hence, her art works are considered unconventional by most in the Ceramics field. Huey Ling believed that the concentrated activity of the making processes will uncover the responsiveness hidden in the materials, hence bring forward the spirit of the process and its energy to the viewer.
Although her art works focus more on the aesthetic aspects, she had chosen to title them “Vessels” just like the wares she made as a potter, which contain and carry things. She sees her artworks as vessels of aesthetics, of the form, of the translucency and whiteness of the porcelain material. Below is an extract from Huey Ling’s blog on what the knitted vessel series is about.
“Knitted vessel series is an on-going exploration of form, paper, porcelain and slip casting. It is a combination of multiple methods and processes where rice papers were first cut and twisted into cords, then meticulously crocheted into shapes. The paper crochet shapes were then dipped into porcelain slips to form a slip cast on the paper crochet. Finally, the work is put in a kiln where the paper is fired away to produce the porcelain form.”
It is not difficult to imagine the tedious process where the artist has to go through trials and errors to master the materials and understand what works, and also the agony she probably went through when a full kiln of work failed 2 weeks before an important exhibition. As Huey Ling highlighted, it takes a lot of discipline and perseverance for one to become an artist in Singapore. I guess many makers will also find the challenges familiar.
Huey Ling had learnt about the Singapore Mini Maker Faire through a friend and she was keen to get to know other people who like to make things. If you drop by her booth, do say “Hi’ to her!