Studio Visit: Hwang Bishop

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Felicia Hwang Bishop of Hwang Bishop opens up about the inspiration behind the brand's Large Incense Table Lamp, which is twice-fired to achieve a lustrous glaze.


Studio Visit: Hwang Bishop

Q: What inspired you to design the Large Incense Table Lamp? 

A: As an artist and self-taught ceramicist, I am always looking to push materials in unconventional ways. I like the clean lines of classic tripod lamps, which are typically made out of wood or metaI, but never ceramics. There's a reason for that. It’s very difficult to keep long geometric planes straight in ceramics since they tend to sag when fired, especially when they are angled. I knew trying to construct this piece in ceramics would be pushing the medium to its limits, but I love a challenge. Part of the fun of what I do is problem-solving. I went through many iterations to achieve the final piece.

Q: Did you see a void in the marketplace, or did you design it for a particular project and then realize that it had broader appeal? 

A: There is something special about the clean, modern lines of this form juxtaposed by the craft appeal of ceramics that you don’t often see. I think people are looking for the evidence of the human hand in their environments and especially their homes. 

Q: What is your favorite feature or detail of the table lamp? 

A: As with all of our ceramics, this piece goes through a kiln firing to melt the glaze into the surface of the stoneware. Each time we open a glaze kiln up there is a bit of excitement to see how the finishes have melted. This piece has long vertical surfaces where the glaze slides beautifully down each length and lends to a special unpredictability. Each glaze has its own characteristics in transparency and movement so it’s always a fun surprise.

Q: The table lamp really makes a statement, so ideally, how and where would you like to see it used? 

A: The Large Incense is perfect in a modern, transitional or traditional interior. It looks best paired with a large drum shade and is a great statement piece in a foyer or on a long banquet table. It has a lot of presence and scale so it calls to be placed in a spacious area. It can be used to add color and warmth to an austere room or to make a modern statement in a traditional setting.

Q: How does it coordinate with other items in your collection? 

A: This piece inspired our small and medium Incense lamps that are constructed of many smaller square lengths that stack up in a delicate assemblage. We actually first offered the smaller pieces while we worked out the construction of the Large Incense.

Q: Are you able to offer customized versions at all?

A: We have customized this piece in countless varieties of scale, style and color. Each piece is truly one of a kind. Each lamp comes out slightly different, which is the inherent beauty of ceramics. We offer more than 40 standard finishes as well as custom color-matching.  

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