Viv Lee

Viv Lee was born in Hong Kong and studied at Glasgow School of Art. After graduating, she remained in Glasgow and is still based there today, creating ceramics inspired by the beautiful irregularity of nature. Rather than seeking perfect symmetry in her work, Viv looks to organic forms – particularly the human body – and embraces the imperfect. Each piece is a unique work of art, which also serves a functional purpose. Her hand-built stoneware lamps have been exclusively created for The New Craftsmen.

Ceramicist

Viv Lee

Glasgow

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THE PROCESS

Using the slow, hand-building techniques of pinching and coiling clay, Viv is guided by an intuitive response to her material. Sometimes Viv begins work with a loosely formed idea in her mind, but if the process of coiling clay draws her in another direction, she tries to remain fluid. The lamps are lightly textured and hand painted in several coats of underglaze and glaze, in a neutral palette of whites and earthy tones. The resulting ‘Wabi Sabi’ quality produces one of a kind pieces.

   

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

I became interested in feminist spiritual philosophy during my time at art school and was intrigued by the idea of the sacred being omnipresent in the earthly world. As our physical bodies are so much part of our existence, these spiritual ideas became my motivation for making. A means of connecting to the sacred in my body, and through the materiality of clay, to the sacred primordial body, Mother Earth. While these ideas underline my practice, I think there is a natural connection that making vessels has with the physical body. Exploring this metaphor opens up a vast territory in terms of form, for example, the way in which we reference the features of a vessel – the foot, neck, belly – all point to the anthropomorphic qualities of this ubiquitous object. As such, I approach making vessels not only as a means of connection to the sacred, but also as a celebration and appreciation of the glorious diversity of the body, be it the human body or the earth body.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

Inspiration for my work comes from many sources. From Neolithic goddess culture and the work of Lithuanian American archaeologist-anthropologist Marija Gimbutas, to organic forms found in nature and the elemental colors and textures in the Scottish landscape. Japanese Wabi Sabi aesthetics also influence my work, but the greatest inspiration for my forms comes from the human body. I find the diversity and innate beauty of the body endlessly interesting. The connection of the human form to the vessel is a rich metaphor for exploration.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

Working with stoneware and terracotta clays, I am drawn to the meditative properties of slow making techniques like pinching and coiling. People have been making clay objects with their hands for millennia and I find this link to antiquity fascinating. Continuing to work with ancient techniques provides a direct means of connecting to the medium’s rich heritage, and a way of preserving its importance in our industrialised culture.

When it comes to the actual making, I try to put aside my analytical mind in favour of taking a more intuitive approach. Sometimes I begin work with a loosely formed idea of what I might make, but as I begin the process of coiling clay, if I am drawn in another direction, I try to remain fluid. As a maker, following an intuitive process of making can take hours, days, and even weeks to unfold. In this time, a special relationship develops between the vessel and me – a blending of energies in which the conscious and unconscious mind expresses itself in every curve, nuance and mark on the clay body. I feel the finished piece serves as a reflection of this relationship and I strive to make work that is an honest expression of the experience, an ongoing process of continual learning and making.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

The experience of making larger works is very different to smaller pieces, as the vessel really begins to take on human proportions and occupies space in a very different way. So challenging myself and making much larger sculptural vessels, one of which was 80cm tall, has been a very proud achievement. The stakes for creating a successful large-scale piece are considerably higher. Not only is it physically more demanding, but there is so much more invested in terms of materials, energy, emotion and of course, time. As such, my experience of successfully developing larger pieces has given me the desire to develop this aspect of my practice, to make even more ambitiously scaled works in the future.

5. What is your dream project?

My dream project would be to create a body of works made from wild clays sourced around Scotland, and to develop glazes from local natural materials. Scotland has been my home for over 20 years and a place that I feel a strong bond to emotionally, spiritually and creatively. Being able to deepen that connection through making would be incredibly rewarding.

 

To be kept informed about new collections from Viv Lee, please email [email protected]

ALL PRODUCTS

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19 Products found

  1. Soma Vessel I by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel I
    Viv Lee
    £980
  2. Soma Vessel II by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel II
    Viv Lee
    £760
  3. Soma Vessel III by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel III
    Viv Lee
    £820
  4. Soma Vessel IV by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel IV
    Viv Lee
    £720
  5. Soma Vessel V by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel V
    Viv Lee
    £840
  6. Soma Vessel VI by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel VI
    Viv Lee
    £880
  7. Soma Vessel VII by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel VII
    Viv Lee
    £880
  8. Soma Vessel VIII by Viv Lee
    Soma Vessel VIII
    Viv Lee
    £940
  9. Sympoiesis Vessel No.55 by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Vessel No.55
  10. Sympoiesis Vessel No. 47 by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Vessel No. 47
  11. Sympoiesis Vessel No.22 by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Vessel No.22
  12. Sympoiesis Vessel No.25
    Sympoiesis Vessel No.25
    Out of stock
    Viv Lee
    £640
    Out of stock
  13. Sympoiesis Floor Lamp I by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Floor Lamp I
  14. Sympoiesis Floor Lamp II by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Floor Lamp II
  15. Sympoiesis Floor Lamp III
    Sympoiesis Floor Lamp III
    Out of stock
    Viv Lee
    £4,620
    Out of stock
  16. Sympoiesis Sandstone Table Lamp (Small) by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Sandstone Table Lamp (Small)
  17. Sympoiesis Mottle Grey Table Lamp by Viv Lee
    Sympoiesis Mottle Grey Table Lamp
  18. Sympoiesis Sandstone Table Lamp (Large)
    Sympoiesis Sandstone Table Lamp (Large)
    Out of stock
    Viv Lee
    £1,650
    Out of stock
  19. Sympoiesis Textured Table Lamp
    Sympoiesis Textured Table Lamp
    Out of stock
    Viv Lee
    £1,920
    Out of stock
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19 Products found