Pottery is one of my favourite pastimes. It is amazingly therapeutic, taking my mind off my day job. I have managed to catch Chris, my ceramics instructor, and got him to spill the beans on why he is in love with the play of clay.
Wanna see what Chris has to say? Read the rest of the article at Lifestyle Asia!
How did you become a Potter?
I started with pottery as an interest class when I was in high school, but when I had to choose what to major in for university, I went for western painting instead. Throughout my years in college, my passion for ceramics manifested, and I eventually decided to submerge in it as my lifelong career.
Ceramics attracted me with its complex personality, being both fragile and durable at the same time. When you are holding onto a pot, you know you can break it or chip it pretty easily. And yet, when you peek into archeological digs, what you would usually find are part of pottery pieces. Pottery is something that, once you have created it, you can never truly get rid of. That is what makes it so intriguing.
My formal training in painting has certainly helped with my ceramics work. When I first started my career as a potter, I elaborately painted my pots. Even now, as a ceramics veteran, I can still see how the two skills would complement each other.
How would you describe your artwork?
I like to create pieces reflecting human interaction, such as how people view themselves and each other. The creation process is a way for me to discover more about myself, and it is definitely a restorative ritual, releasing tensions from my daily life.
When I was younger, I always wanted come up with ideas that nobody has ever explored before. After almost two decades in the field, I don’t feel the need to strive for groundbreaking themes anymore. Rather, with my unique experience, such as being trained in Chinese painting and having held a residency with John Michael Kohler Arts Centre in Wisconsin, inspirations come rather naturally.
Although there is quite a bit of diversity in my work, creating sculptures, installation works, commissioned pieces, as well as functional objects, somehow all my collections seem to link together with one another on a fundamental level. You might find it weird that I don’t actually have a favourite piece, but that is because I am never really satisfied with the finished work. It feels like there is always a missing factor that I couldn’t quite put a finger on.
Why do you like teaching ceramics?
I started my own studio, Cobo Ceramics Workshop, in 1995, because I love to teach. It makes a great channel for sharing techniques and acquiring interesting viewpoints with my students. Teaching has its difficulties, because Hong Kong people tend to be rather goal-oriented, and need to achieve certain targets in a certain timeframe. What they don’t realise is that in ceramics, you have to experience the basic training to be able to move further. How long that process takes varies from one person to another, so it is rather trying when they compare themselves with another student when acquiring the necessary skills.
I am very proud of my students, because they are able to create such a high standard of work when they are only practicing on a weekly basis. When their works are better than that of an amateur, we encourage them to take a professional course in the Hong Kong Arts Centre to get an all-rounded training, educating themselves in-depth on art history and theory, rather than just focusing on pottery-making.
To be honest, it isn’t easy to survive on art, and this is not just in Hong Kong. It is especially the case with ceramics, which sits on the fence between arts and crafts. But quite a few of my students have now opened their own workshops, which is extremely gratifying to see. So you want to give this a shot? Join us for a class and find out for yourself!
Cobo Ceramics Workshop
Address: 1/F Fortune Court, 33 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Telephone: 2528 0672