The art of creative ceramic at Atelier Murmur

Xinhe, Jinjin and Zhuo ‘Jo’ form a collective of 3 young Chinese ceramic designers who together experiment the art of fine ceramics under the name “Atelier Murmur”. Their studio is based in Hangzhou, in China. This city is famous for its beautiful lake, the “West Lake”, and for its preserved and restored traditional houses and streets nearby. If you intend to visit China, you really should consider to go there!

A story between France and China

Xinhe, Jinjin have lived a few years in France, from Marseille to Paris, where we met then and became friends. Zhou also studied in France for some time. They now all moved back to China to open a bigger studio in the Art Village, surrounded by the beautiful green tea fields.

We’ve had the pleasure to visit their newly installed studio, and to discover their brand new own big ceramic oven, a dream equipment for many ceramists.

I knew their ceramic work for some time, and we already own some beautiful pieces they designed, yet it was exciting to discover how they make them in their studio. From the liquid clay to the shaped object like a glass or bowl drying in a plaster mold, I realized how little I knew about ceramic-making. It has very little to do with potery!

Creation is all about taking risks

Moreover they are designers, not just makers, and as such they experiment with creative ways to facture pieces, using tree leaves or textile ribbons to imprint custom textures to the ceramic.

It’s a trial and error process. They take a lot of risks in the process of trying new things, and as such they are familiar with failures like broken pieces. As they explain: “you don’t learn if you don’t go out of your comfort zone”. As a software developer we’re also familiar with this way of thinking…

With a mainstream culture of materialism in China these days, it’s very refreshing to see young innovators like the Murmur artists working together to make their creative idealism become a realistic way of life. They know that money and business success is not the only “quality of life” metric there is. Doing what you live and living up to your true aspirations matters a lot.

That said, it does not necessarily have to interfere with commercial success either. They’ve been selling a lot of all hand-made and unique pieces like glasses, bowls and jewels in Paris streets when they started. Now they have orders for batches of hundreds of pieces, for art galeries and various clients, yet still all hand-made in their studio.

Even if they love the creative work most, from time to time they also love to sell face to face with the customers in order to get direct feedback, and this is important for them. Again as an agile software developer we’re also familiar with this way of thinking!

Find out more about their creations at Atelier Murmur.

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