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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Wai Yan Choi

WAI YAN CHOI was born in Hong Kong, China. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Jewellery at London College of Fashion in 2018 and continued her studies in the Ceramics and Glass department at the Royal College of Art.

As a jewellery designer, her work has repeatedly appeared at London Fashion week and in international magazines such as Vogue Poland, Dazed, and Paper magazine. Her collaborative glass jewellery series (with Ginu George, 2019) prompted her to start a new journey of material investigation, specialising in glass at the Royal College of Art. In 2020, her glass series “Vessel-Boundaries” won The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers - Ceramics and Glass Award.

She is open for conversation, opportunities and residencies, locally and abroad.

For commission and sale inquiries, please email Waiyan.choi@network.rca.ac.uk

My practice is rooted in material experimentation. I am inspired by the tactile and visual qualities created by the often-unpredictable reaction that happens when two or more materials collide. As a jeweller and a glass artist, metal and glass are the core materials along my artistic journey. I am curious what reactions they will have when they meet.

My current series of work is based on the material investigation of glass-metal reactions. My sculpture, in combination with my COVID lockdown experience and the crisis of metal pollution, has led to a film animation to tell a futuristic story about the environment. I use materials metaphorically: the flawless transparency of glass to represent the environment, and metal to represent manmade pollutants that break the balance of the ecosystem. If combined in certain ways, they are destructive to each other. Yet, under controlled circumstances, environment and human development can coexist and even stimulate something new. I want to use my work to convey a positive vision for the current pandemic and environmental pollution crisis. Our life will return to a new normal, and we can find a way to coexist with nature before the apocalypse arrives.

Inner Boundaries — Colour and texture are created by reactions between glass and metal when fused in the kiln.
Inner Boundaries — Selection of 10 cubes.
Inner Boundaries - Materials — My experiments are based on three types of metal: Alkali metal, solid metal and metal oxide.

This series of work is a material investigation project, combining incompatible materials: Clear Bullseye glass, alkali metal, solid low melting point metal and metal oxide. Due to a different contraction rate, reactive and solid metals are not traditionally used in glass production. This series of work showcases how boundaries between materials can be crossed. Metaphorically, can we find a way to establish a balance between humans and the ecosystem?

(Overall dimension varies with different compositions)


Medium:

Clear Bullseye glass with various metal inclusions (cast)

Size:

4 x 5 x 7.5cm per element
2082 Nexus Statera — Lockdown inspired futuristic animation that about the heavy metal pollution crisis in 2082. Animated with Cinema 4d and Octane render.

My animation’s background is about my vision of the post-apocalyptic era when human beings have heavily polluted their environment and are no longer able to leave an established safety zone. Humankind is in a permanent lockdown situation until a solution to neutralize the pollution can be found.

The film is an ongoing story that develops along with the current situation.

Medium:

Animation

Size:

2 min 40 seconds
Praemonitus - Subject G-I — This series of work is inspired by ice core investigation. Scientists can glean information about composition of the atmosphere from the past by analysing the inclusion in ice cores.
Praemonitus - Subject G-II; III — In 2082, These sculptures work as a filtering system that filter all the toxic metal particles in the air and only supply pure oxygen to the underground shelter, where human are lock down.
Praemonitus - Subject G-IV — Clear Bullseye glass with pewter inclusions (cast) 18 (h) x 8 cm (diameter)
Praemonitus - Subject G-IV — Detail
Praemonitus - Subject G-V; VI; VII — 20(h) x 6.5 cm (diameter)
Praemonitus — Process

Solid metal is traditionally a destructive material to the glass formation (especially in casting), but in controlled circumstances, new colour and texture possibilities can be created. Likewise, manmade pollutants are destructive to our ecosystem, but if we can work out a balance, can human activities and the environment sustainably coexist?

"Praemonitus" means “warning” in Latin.

If humans produce pollutants uncontrollably, our ecosystems will eventually collapse, and we may face a more serious crisis than the lockdown. Or can we establish a positive vision for our future?

Medium:

Clear Bullseye glass with various metal inclusions (cast)

Size:

8 (w) x 8 (l) x 26 (h) cm
Vitality SCUPOG-I; SCUPOG-II — Front View - Vitality is a purifying machine. It will gradually neutralise the toxic substances in the air.
Vitality SCUPOG-I; SCUPOG-II — Detail - The copper-porcelain flower is used to absorb and collect the toxic metals. The porcelain flower produces particles that can neutralise the pollution in the air.
Blow mould — Clay and wet newspaper. Hot glass is blown into a mould to achieve form and texture.

The vitality of plants came to my attention during my second lockdown in the UK. While I was locked in my flat, the virus threatened our lives, but plants could still live with the virus and grow freely all over the world. It is representing my hope towards the new norm and my desire for life without restrictions.

Medium:

Blown glass, Porcelain and Copper

Size:

33 (h) x 19 (w) x 9.5 (diameter) cm
Vessel I; II; III — 8 (h) x 8.5 (diameter) cm
Vessel IV; V; VI — 6 (h) x 7.5 (diameter) cm

My Vessel series is about exploring contrast and tension within the material, focusing on surface texture and colour. 

The form of the vessel also represents society expectations and restrictions, where we are asked to mould ourselves into a standard form. A vibrant reaction is created by mixing two contrasting materials within a restricted form, in order to highlight individualism and manipulation.

This series of work was selected as the Winner of The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers - Ceramics and Glass Award (2020)


Medium:

Clear Bullseye glass with various metal inclusions (cast)

Size:

8 (h) x 8.5 (diameter) cm
Nexus Statera Portfolio 2021