April 2018 Maker of the Month: VIV LEE
Last month artist and ceramicist Viv Lee installed our window at Welcome Home. The window faces onto busy Sauchiehall Street on which the elements have not quite given into Spring and road works loudly groan on, and yet Viv’s window is a small oasis of calm. Bright little yellow stems, dried heather and bushy grasses are balanced thoughtfully in her pieces. A pinecone is nestled atop a small vase christened ‘new bud’ and gypsophila foams out of another entitled ‘Botanical Rhapsody’.
Glazes are where Viv’s work comes to life, deep sludge tones sit along side thick clean icing-sugar white and pink and blue mark making, each adding to layer upon layer of subtle colour. The glazes change the surface of the clay from uniform to organic and each piece becomes a pleasure to hold for its weight and cool irregular surface.
Viv was born in Hong Kong and has spent time living in Toronto and London before finding her current location in the West of Scotland. A former aromatherapist and florist, Viv earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art last year. Her work is made from her home studio using a variety of techniques including hand building through pinching and coiling and using found objects as tools for mark making.
How long have you been making ceramics and what brought you to it?
In my second year at art school we had a visiting professor from China who came over to teach us how to sculpt a head in clay. That was my first experience of working with the medium and it was pretty much love at first touch. From that point on I started to explore the material and began making ceramics on the side. I love the expressive potential of clay, its tactile quality and that it comes from such ancient roots. After I graduated from school last summer I decided to fully immerse myself into making ceramics and set up a studio at home.
The names you give each of your pieces really bring them to life, why was it important for you to name them?
Language plays such an important part in how we make sense of the world and the objects around us. By giving each piece a name, I hope to give the viewer/user an access point to engage with the object and allow its meaning to unfold with use.
The palette you have chosen for the range we have in Welcome Home is so subtle - was it informed by anything in particular? How do you make decisions about colour?
I am greatly influenced by my surroundings and in particular, the natural environment. I love how every season brings new colours, moods and sensations and I try to capture these feelings in my work. Very often I arrive at decisions about colour intuitively. Lately I have been particularly drawn to using subtle colours that appear to change and shift, much like the quality of light in Scotland.
How does being based in Scotland, and in particular Glasgow effect your creative mentality?
Although I currently live just a couple miles outside of Glasgow, I feel very much part of the creative fabric of the city, which is dynamic, experimental and lively. I am lucky to have spent four years studying at Glasgow School of Art and being surrounded by so many creatives. I definitely think this drives me to be experimental with my own work. I’m really looking forward to going around GI and Glasgow Open House Festival to soak up some of this creative energy.
Lastly please pick a favourite product from the shop!
Beautiful wearable sculpture!