Meet the artist: Rosa Nguyen
Posted on May 06 2016
Getting to know Rosa Nguyen...
Rosa Nguyen is possibly best known for her recent 'Living Wall' project displayed in the beautiful setting of Compton Verney. Her work explores natural elements and organic forms with a fusion of western and oriental sensibilities. She has shown at Saatchi Gallery, among many others. Her oeuvre is eclectic, ranging from unique objects to site-specific installations, which are delicate and richly textured, innovative and timeless.
Above: Rosa hand decorating bone china with enamel print decals
Her handmade ceramic and glass objects synthesize colour, line, form and function in an exotic visual and tactile language. Taking inspiration from discrete arts such as gardening and Ikebana, the Japanese form of flower arranging, Rosa’s work evokes a contemplative aesthetic and a deep-rooted spiritual connection with nature.
We caught up with Rosa to find out more about her, her work and her inspiration.
5 things we love about Rosa Nguyen
1. Her influence
"I am a French-Vietnamese born and raised in London. My French grandmother has been my biggest influence in the kitchen and the studio. She painted Still Lives of her Dalhias and Gladioli, designed floral textile patterns for Givenchy and was famous for her traditional ‘Lapin en Croute’ (rabbit pie). I naturally inherited the love for Vietnamese ‘Pho’ soup. The large serving bowl size of my Chimera collection was chosen with a steaming portion of beef Pho in mind!"
2. Her daily inspiration
"I walk everywhere. The daily journey to my studio takes me through South London estates and the wild flower planting of Burgess Park. I’m often hunting out a particular leaf or stem to use, either in a botanical design, or to dry out and bring back to life in one of my ceramic and glass compositions."
3. Where it all started
"I first started making things out of clay at the age of 10 during Saturday morning pottery classes. Eventually I studied ceramics at the RCA in London under the inspirational tutelage of artist Edouardo Paolozzi. Most of our conversations were around jazz and ethnographic collections at The Museum of Mankind. It was devastating when the museum closed down."
4. Her Passion
"Japanese culture is a big influence. In the late 90s I trained as a Zen Shiatsu (acupressure) therapist, and have been practising the martial art of Aikido for 14 years now! In 2005 I worked collaboratively in Japan with Ikebana artists and haven’t stopped using flowers and plants, as part of my designs and ceramic and glass installations, since. A film of my 1st Ikebana performance 'Living wall' at Saatchi's Gallery was selected for the ceramic and glass film festival in Montpelier." https://vimeo.com/
Above: Rosa creating 'Living Wall' in the studio
5. Her inner gardener
"I live in a flat. A lot of my work bares relation to being a frustrated gardener. I was very excited to be commissioned last year for a show at Compton Verney where I was able to create my largest wall installation to date ‘Gardening with Morris’ for their exhibition; 'Arts and Crafts Then and Now'. I was thrilled to be showing along side historical and contemporary garden designers Gertrude Jekyll and Dan Pearson."
Above: Installing 'Gardening With Morris' at Compton Verney
Rosa's favourite designs:
"The designs for this particular collection of bowls uses part of my collection of wild pressed leaves and flowers, mixed in with my adapted William Morris botanical ‘Fruit’ wall paper design. The minimal bold colour designs are inspired by 17th century Japanese screen designs of gardens and the scattered floral composition of Meissen porcelain. Each unique bowl works on their own, paired or combined in groups so as to create a special table landscape. Platters are designed to work alone or as pairs which are popular as special gifts to be used as serving dishes or display. Would look great for a special birthday or wedding table landscape."
Jade Nettles and Dandelion China Bowl
"I’m often drawn by the most common plants and weeds. These two designs combine edible plants and patches of willow in fresh Spring colour. The pair conjure up personal childhood memories of my grandmothers clear nettle and garlic soup and garden spring dandelion leaf salad! A popular size and shape for both serving dish, eating from and display."
Range of Small Porcelain and Glass Holders, Clumps and Pools
"I started to make these with Ikebana Japanese flower arrangements in mind and the unusual vessels used to display flowers and branches. As with all of my work, each piece is made by hand and unique, using different types of clay, coloured glass and collected plants dried and painted with a porcelain gesso or graphite lacquer. Flower heads are recycled into liquid porcelain to make the coral like clumps and porcelain pools glazed in traditional celadon glazes. They work with or without a plant. As a unique piece or as a group to create beautiful serene miniature landscapes."