FRESH AiR: MEET SHIYUAN XU

LILLSTREET ARTIST IN RESIDENCE:

SHIYUAN XU

CERAMICS RESIDENT 2018 / 2019

SHIYUAN joined Lillstreet in September as our resident artist in the CERAMICS Department. Shiyuan was born in Hangzhou, P.R China. ShE received her BA in Ceramics from China Academy of Art in 2012 and an MFA from Arizona State University in 2016. 

You know you’re an artist when it’s too late to stop.”

– SHIYUAN

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It’s hard to believe we’re two full sessions into your residency! What are you teaching IN OUR UPCOMING WINTER SESSION?

I am currently teaching First-Time Potter , a 10-week focus on Building Structures and Intro to Paper Clay. It’s a great lineup of classes, all with differences and commonalities that I love, and I’m looking forward to all three!

(Note our catalog is constantly changing. View all of Shiyuan’s current classes here.)

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 What classes, or class, do you most enjoy teaching hERE?

I like all of my classes so far. I taught different levels of throwing classes for the fall session, and a multi-level hand-building classes for this session. I mainly hand-build my pieces, so it’s fun to switch to the throwing process for awhile. In my view, the students at Lillstreet are very passionate about making and learning new things which makes me genuinely excited about teaching here. Passion and excitement can be contagious in an art form. 

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Are you taking any classes at Lillstreet outside of the ceramics department? If so, which ones and why? 

Not currently, but I’m planning to take some metal and drawing classes later. I use drawings in some of my work, so it would be nice to have different feedbacks for my drawings. As to metal, I think it would be fun to learn a new material.

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You say “You Know You’RE AN ARIST WHEN IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP,” What advice do you give other ceramicists who might give up on a project?

Being an artist is a struggle – even for me! But I really enjoy studio life and concentrating on the making, thinking about how much I have devoted for, I have to keep going. It’s a struggle worth embracing.

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Your style is so unique, delicate and intricate. What do you use to support the intricate Structures? 

The construction technique for my piece is slab building and I use paper clay to make my work. Paper clay is adding cellular fibers into the clay to increase strength and workability, which is especially ideal for building intricate pieces.

PHOTO CREDIT: GUY NICOL
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From there, Is there a technique or element of your craft you enjoy doing most?

I hand build my ceramic sculptures, and often use small porcelain slabs to connect parts to create a form. It’s a repetitive process, but it’s also like putting a complex 3D puzzle together. Bit by bit, the slab structures are growing and evolving, eventually become something meaningful to me.

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How do you seek out opportunities to get your work into the community?

The internet is the great place to find all kinds of resources, from show opportunities to local art events, from gallery openings to visiting artist lectures. Sometimes, I’ll check Facebook pages and Instagram to see if there is any news. Also, I ask people in the community, they always have a lot of good info to share with.

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What is your dream project?

My dream project would be creating a big piece in which the structures of the piece can fill up the entire room, and the audience is able to walk through my piece; so that it really changes the viewing perspective, like Alice in the wonderland. Or I would love to see a piece of mine  scaled up and fabricated into some sort of lightweight organic architecture form, in which people can live. (Dream big, right?!)

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If you had to title a show based on the current mood or state of your practice, what would you call it?

Ongoing. Currently I’m playing with a heavy textured glaze on my sculpture. In order to achieve the rough texture I wanted, I have to glaze the piece, fire it, and re-glaze the piece, re-fire it, with multiple times, again and again. It is an ongoing process if I want I can keep the cycle non-stop.

Lillstreet Art Center Ceramics Residency Program

PHOTO CREDIT: GUY NICOL
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SHIYUAN’S work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, which includes Untied States, Slovenia, China and South Korea. Shiyuan is the recipient of 2017 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist. She has participated several artist in residency programs which including the Archie Bray Foundation, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Lawrence Arts Center.
Website: www.shiyuanxu.com
Take a class with SHIYUAN! View her current classes at Lillstreet, here.

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About our Residency Program: Interested in an artist residency at Lillstreet Art Center? Our  artist residencies last for one year, beginning in September, are available in the following departments: Ceramics, Photography, Metalsmithing & Jewelry, Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, Textiles & Fiber Arts. Working across media is both acceptable and encouraged. Our call for application runs early spring. Meet all of our current residents here

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Kate Bek

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By Kate Bek

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About Lillstreet

Founded in 1975, Lillstreet Art Center is a large community of artists and students working side-by-side in a friendly environment which encourages and inspires artistic growth in the individual. Lillstreet Art Center supports the arts through our education program, artist residencies, gallery exhibitions and retail sales opportunities, studio rentals, and arts-based professional development.

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