Shengya Gao is a versatile artist with a nomadic spirit, who is constantly exploring the intersection of art and design. She has a BA in Industrial Design from XJTLU (Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) and the University of Liverpool in 2021; she furthered her artistic journey by studying ceramics in Jingdezhen. She is studying for an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. Inspired by her interdisciplinary education and diverse life experiences, Shengya creates captivating works that combine functionality, aesthetics, and conceptual depth.
As an artist, I am constantly inspired by the natural world and its unique textures and patterns. My current practice was inspired by a trip to the white chalk cliffs near Dover, in the south of England, where I was struck by the incredible cross-sections of the earth's strata that were visible there. This experience sparked a fascination for these forms, and I started exploring the connections between the geological strata and the Japanese nerikomi technique (which involves stacking and slicing coloured clay to create cross-section patterns).
In my work, I seek to capture the essence of these textures and patterns and translate them into something tangible that people can incorporate into their everyday lives. My medium of choice is clay, which I can stack, squeeze, bend, and shape to create dynamic cross-sections that reflect the human formation and transformation of strata. The process and results of my creative practice are unpredictable and infinite, and I am constantly experimenting with different ways of creating visually stunning and functional patterns.
Ultimately, my goal as an artist is to bring the elements from natural landscapes into people's everyday lives. Each piece I make reflects the unique landscapes that have inspired me in my nomadic life. I believe that by incorporating these textures and patterns into simple utensils and objects, we can create a deeper connection with the world around us and gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of nature.
The process of creating ceramic vessels represents the process of geological formation:
Powdered stain brushed onto the surface of the clay
A light, mist-like layer formed
Unstable and changeable
Blending the stain and clay
White clay takes on a distinctive colour and texture
Different colours of clay stacked on top of each other,
like the deposition of different substances in the earth's strata
The wheel turns,
Layers flowing with the direction of the force
Unknown texture will be the planet's archive
Ores, from the strata
With an infinite variety of patterns
Shrunken, jagged dots
Metallic, iridescent luster
The vessel is a cross-section of the strata