Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

Shop on the Square Artist Spotlight: Olen Hsu

In addition to presenting selections of fine handmade jewelry, “Shop on the Square” also features collections of contemporary hand-built, slip-cast, and wheel-thrown ceramics. Olen Hsu is one of the ceramic artists featured. With a focus on wheel-thrown, translucent porcelain, he writes of his work and process: “I’m interested in quietness of form. Weighted or taut, languid or drawn, I enjoy how the slightest undulation of a rim or lip can suggest a mood in something as plain as a cup or bowl or plate: a subtle wavering, in silhouette, might give breath and vulnerability and strength all at once.”

“I wheel-throw with porcelain for its slowness and for its pleasure, and throw the porcelain thinly, waiting for the gentle personality of a pot to show itself. I’m drawn to a particular plainness: one that offers mystery because it seems there’s something else contained there in that empty space, something not wholly understood by words. And so with glazes, too: milky, or waxy, or stony—or perhaps like a shell, or bone, or water, or skin—sometimes with the boldness that brilliance or darkness brings, if a form needs bright rose or emerald or the blackest black to assert its particular voice. But often the glaze is only a suggestion of a color, barely there, to reveal, hopefully, something else in use and touch, maybe even tenderness.”

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