SAN FRANCISCO—Drawing on the tradition of storytelling, designer and director of Heath Clay Studio, Tung Chiang‘s Design Series 5: Forming Fables, comprised of over 100 hand-formed ceramic animals and trees, along with paintings, illustrate the stories and narratives of each, DesignMilk writes.
Throughout the year-long project, he spent time brainstorming ideas, fleshing out shapes and glazes, and honing the process of making the final pieces – all in he made over 100 one-of-a-kind pieces for the show.
Heath Clay Studio walked DesignMilk through the process of how this storied collection came to fruition. His first step: sketching his animals that capture ideas and the imagination.
When designing, his focus is on a wide range of design that allows him to think as broadly as he can. The Design Series is about exploration; Each sketch represents a different idea of how to capture the expression of an animal or the stories behind them.
Already an avid collector of animal figurines—some even from his childhood—Tung likes to keep objects around that he loves while he creates. DesignMilk takes a focused look at how one of Tung’s pieces came to be.
The story of “My Tree” according to Tung: “Each of these animals is born under a tree which they call their own and look after their entire life. One fox has a tree that’s dying, and is past the point of recovery. A neighboring squirrel offers a helping hand by sharing its seed collection with the fox. The seed later sprouts, and is under the fox’s care. Turning to you, these animals ask: which tree are you protecting?
Heath Clay Studio asserts itself as a place of experimentation, exploration, and inspiration. It’s where we evolve our shapes, glazes, design and making processes.
It’s where we play, learn, and share.
About Tung: With a career that spans graphic design and advertising in Hong Kong, studying furniture design at Art Center in Pasadena, and industrial design in San Francisco, Tung’s career has been an evolution from 2D to 3D, toward a fusion of thinking, designing and making. All along, he nurtured his long-standing interest in ceramics and built his skills as a potter, throwing pots late into the night whenever he could. Tung’s work for Heath and on his own is immensely popular, and has found a place in the hearts and collections of discerning ceramics fans.
Do you or loathe this collection of ceramic critters from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.