Teresa Chang, designer and ceramist, works in her Philadelphia studio, offering high-end, handthrown porcelain dinnerware and teaware. As a Korean American, Teresa has developed a signature aesthetic that seamlessly marries a serene eastern sensibility with a rigorous modern edge. Her work appeals to design-conscious food lovers who seek quality without fuss. The collection is available for viewing online and occasionally at select craft shows. Her studio is open to the public by appointment.
Background – Teresa’s formal education is in architecture (U.Va. ’87, Columbia U. ’92). After earning her Master’s degree, Teresa set up an informal pottery studio in her Brooklyn loft to give her long time avocation a more permanent place in her life. In 1996, she created a body of work, sold her wares at local craft fairs, and began teaching at the Craft Students League in Manhattan. In 1997, her dinnerware debuted to the trade market at the New York International Gift Fair and her work then appeared in such prestigious stores as Barney’s Japan, Takashimaya, and Dean and Deluca. While expanding on her initial collection of dinnerware lines, she has also developed an interest in teapots and has studied on multiple occasions, over the past 10 years, with Taiwanese teapot master Ah-Leon.
Functionality – Achieving true functionality in craft is a way of bringing beauty to everyday life. Teresa is a practical person and loves for people to really use her work. She also loves food, so her passion for dinnerware is natural. Her collection of simple forms gracefully serves diverse cuisines. The soft, yet vibrant, palette of colors makes a quiet and elegant backdrop for a wide variety of foods. Lately, she has focussed much attention on teapots, which she believes present the ultimate challenge of combining function and form. Over time she has developed an understanding of teapot ergonomics and fluid dynamics necessary to design a pot that pours well. She uses this hard-gained and uncommon knowledge when designing all the individual teapot components and then excels at bringing these parts together into a single harmonious expression.
Craftmanship – All of Teresa’s work is thrown and trimmed on the potter’s wheel. She has high standards of craftsmanship and a penchant for detail. Her well honed wheel skills are the benefit of years of dinnerware production. For Teresa, the meditative, rhythmic work of repetitive throwing is wonderfully balanced by the distinctly different working mode of making one-of-a-kind teapots for which each lid and body is precisely fit and each handle, spout and strainer is painstakingly sculpted by hand.
Aesthetic – Teresa’s body of work is distinguished by an unusual and successful synthesis of design and craft. She believes that forms pared down to their structural essence are inherently beautiful. There is no applied decoration, no excess in shape, mass, or profile. As a result, the forms are graceful and timeless. She acknowledges many influences for her design sensibilities including early Korean and Japanese pottery, her architectural studies and an appreciation for simplicity instilled by her mother.