Wei, a pragmatic idealist describes the ceramic practice as endless where technique and attitude create the bottom line and message and aesthetic create the ceiling. Wei works between these two boundaries; they are both equally important to the artist. Although Wei’s ceramic background begins in Canada, China, the artist’s birthplace boasts a very long and rich ceramic history. Wei frequently returns to China to learn from esteemed Chinese ceramic masters, some of which spend their entire lives mastering one particular technique; a socket with which Wei draws great inspiration from.
Wei is always striving to perfect her practice, she attends workshops, reads philosophy and studies with a mentor to push the edges of her ceiling higher and higher. But the ceramic practice is not just a practice of skills, it is a lifestyle. 10 to 12 hours of Wei’s day is spent in her studio at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. She is part of the Burnaby Potters’ Guild which takes up residence there, her fellow artists constitute a mixture of sculptors and functional potters. It is a community, a safe place to create and share ideas, a haven. It is also a place of learning. A place where artists can work alongside one another and inspire each other.
Wei asks the same of her audience. She believes the viewer’s eye completes a work. When the viewer puts their emotions and feelings into a piece they help Wei create ‘the moment.’ Together we create the moment. Together we complete the work. In the practice of ceramics and in daily life there are so many small moments, small decisions, small things happening all the time in real time but nothing is ever the same, just as Wei’s work is never the same. Wei treasures the small moments, she encourages people to take time, to take space to embrace them no matter how tiny or silent. Her main motivation lies in cherishing her medium. Her fingertips, her hands and her mind are her most valuable tools. They are with the artist constantly and work together as one. She looks to her next work always and the potential within her medium, when asked if she had a favourite piece, she responded by saying, ‘the best one is the next one.’
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Wei will return to Art Vancouver in 2019. Get your tickets here.
Visit her website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview by Laura Noonan