After a good couple of hours learning on the wheel myself last night I’ve got a lot of admiration for todays entry into our daily content, American creative Olen Hsu who’s somewhat of a master of the art. His works embody a subtle quietness of form which are given a gentle measure of personality in his polished glazes, I think these add real character. He aims to recreate textures such as shell, bone, water or skin with a suggestion of colour, whilst contradicting this with the touch of each creation and of course the use they’re designed for.
Browsing across his webpage earlier a Greek word I came across the other day sprang to mind, this being Meraki. This deciphers into English as creating something with soul, creativity, and love, adding something of yourself into your work, which I felt was the perfect description for what we have here. Olen’s style is the product of years of dedication and study under a great number of potters, having worked with so many talented individuals across the globe, Gwyn Hanssen Pigot in Queensland is perhaps the most coveted of these.
His first mentor was ceramicist John Takehara in his hometown of Boise, Idaho where he worked with handbuilt stoneware and eggshell-thin wheel thrown porcelain for eight years. This experience exposed him to the expansive collection of Mr. Takehara who had collected contempary creations by Lucie Rie, Ruth Duckworth, Shoji Hamada, Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio, David Leach and Anne Hirondelle, alongside those of an earlier historical existence. Studies in the history of art and architecture at Yale then enabled Olen to travel and experience further examples of ceramics, enamel wares, lacquer painting and sculpture. He visited sacred sights in Japan, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey which would later provide the context for his own creations.
I’ve curated a small collection of his most recent objects which have all been wheel thrown in porcelain before being given this honey like glaze in most cases. I love the rich vulnerability that these encase, they don’t look too delicate and fragile however, they have the perfect balance of strength and poise. If you enjoy what we have here I’d urge you to make the click across to Olen’s personal webpage which presents a larger selection of what he’s been creating recently, as always I’ll leave the link for this just below – Enjoy!