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Jacqueline Zhao

Read Jacqueline's Interview

Jacqueline, On Handmade Work

An Interview with Jacqueline Zhao

Why Ceramics?

Opportunity for meaningful human connections is at the root of why I pursue ceramics. The studio culture is a unique community where people from myriad backgrounds, trades, cultures, and ages are joined in curiosity and exploration of her or his own craft at an individual pace. In cities, including New York, community manifests through occupation, locality, education, religion - and the studio weaves between concentrations and unites them in one place.

For me, ceramics is a galvanizing force for community through creativity. Ideas are shared and nurtured while sitting side-by-side with other ceramicists, everyone simultaneously making craft.

On the Striation Series

I named this collection the Striation Series, because it embodies an exploration of line. Each piece is crafted by the coil method of creating pottery, by which clay was rolled into individual ropes and then stacked to compose the walls. The walls of each piece were then carved away to reveal the contours of the form, and the result is an undulating body molded through positive and negative lines.

Why Handmade?

The slowness of practicing ceramics creates a special tension between individual expression and the realization of an idea. Working with the human hand defines a speed of production that emphasizes deliberate mark-making from conception through the processes that lead to completion.

An idea that emerges can be directly translated, analyzed, tested and explored through making things by hand. In urban environments where emphasis is placed on mass production and homogeneity, ceramics presents an alternate goal: by celebrating the unique.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I feel inspired when I am curious about a thing. I have been exploring textures in ceramics for a while, and did studies in various scales. Because the textures were formed by carving - a process of subtraction - I began to think about them less as “applied”. For this series, and presently, I’ve been thinking about texture as an end effect, and subtraction as integral to form. Curiosity can be sparked by words; for my collection, they were Line, Rhythm, and Body.

Share a Musing

When an object is created, it beckons a purpose: to be filled, to be inhabited, or perhaps to remain as sculptural form simply to behold. The object comes alive when its owner creates for it a purpose. The transfer of an object from maker to owner, as with art and music, is a conversation that carries on without words.

What’s next for you?

I will continue to explore this series, and pursue where the curiosity leads!