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An Interview with Linda Hsiao of Knotwork LA

Knotwork LA Ceramics Collection

What was the story behind Knotwork LA?

Knotwork was initially created as a side project for my husband Kagan and I to create fun things in our spare time, starting with a wooden baby rattle that we still produce. When we coined the phrase "made in our spare time" it instantly enveloped all the things that I was tinkering on from clay to wooden products and utensils.

Since then it has evolved and become mainly ceramics and my full time thing with no spare time left! It’s still all I ever want to do! There’s a lightheartedness and feeling of celebration and play that I hope my products give others.  That each piece is handmade and one of a kind is very important to me. 

Knotwork LA Ceramics Collection

How did you get started in ceramics? Do you still work with other materials as often?

I began working with ceramics when I needed an escape from the design world of just working on the computer. I found myself drawn to clay back when I was still living in Brooklyn and feeling the need to work with real materials again.

Where do your patterns find their inspiration?

My porcelain inlay began with a curiosity of how different clay would react pressed into each other. Always loving the natural color of raw stoneware unglazed with colors coming from iron and different minerals. This type of clay reminds me of the sedimentary rock cliffs in the beaches of my childhood in Laguna Beach. Fossils and different textures and color embedded into on rock kept me mesmerized. Creatures embedded in the fossil Inlay Platters are born from the organic shapes hidden in the natural slab of the inlay and each one comes to life and develops a personality of its own. 

Occasionally I have been adding bits of traditional Nerikomi in my pieces to add some more detailed elements within my patterns. While originally patterns were inspired by nature they have began taking new inspirations from all sorts candy to baked goods like lemon tarts recently.  I hope to keep playing with patterns and advancing my technique indefinitely.

Knotwork LA Ceramics CollectionWhen you're working on a new form, how does that process usually look?

All of my work is handmade and one of a kind. Most work starts out as a form of exploration both of material and process. I’m always looking and exploring. Sometimes I’ll see something on a hike or in a museum that will remind me of something and those little seeds translate into new ideas. I store these ideas up until I get into the studio. I always have a to-do list of experiments.

Anything you want to say about this collection of pieces?

Tumblers have become my favorite staples in my studio to make. Especially the Mini party tumbler size cup. There’s something lovely about drinking with friends and these are the perfect size to take a sip and enjoy! We use these almost daily for wine at home.

What's next for you?

I’m really excited for a few upcoming events and exhibitions this year that I plan on expanding my collection and making some larger works.  Can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out and I hope you stay tuned to see.

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