Knotwork LA by Linda Hsiao
You immediately know when you come across a strong, distinct voice. The work springs to life, there's not much need for an explanation, and the impression sits with you long after you leave the room.
That's exactly what happens with Knotwork LA.
It's no wonder that her work is being picked up by some of the most distinguished establishments - even now, she's working on an exclusive collection for the legendary Tartine Bakery of San Francisco. There's something profound about Knotwork LA, and it's unmistakably Linda's.
Linda's Nerikomi-Inspired Style
Linda's pieces are typically made from mixed pieces of varying clay-bodies, inspired by a process called Nerikomi, where a piece's designs and patterns are built-in. There's no need for additional glaze or paint to create personality.
And not only is her approach unique, the pieces in this collection also have small etchings to accentuate the details and textures of her patterns. Whether it's the arms of a feather or the ripples of a cloud, Linda brings her pieces to life with tactile depth.
Depth of Character
With pieces that seem simple on the surface, Knotwork LA's tiki mugs and fish incense holders have history. Linda bestows origin and character to these pieces without frill, and what starts as a simple slab of clay is given new life.
Linda continues to explore new forms, styles, and characters in her work - expanding everything she's known for. Throughout it all, each piece is fittingly made with her own mark, and wherever her exploration goes, it unmistakably is Knotwork LA.
An Interview with Linda Hsiao of Knotwork LA
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.
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.
When 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.