Taylor Cowan • August 01, 2023

Unveiling Artistry: Meet ceramist, Hao Yen Chang of Taiwan

Meet the Producer

Shop Hao Yen Chang's 'Favor' piece. Only one is available. 


Hao Yen Chang’s work celebrate slowness. The slow burning of a wood-fired kiln, the slowness of waiting, the slowness of feeling, the slowness spent off screens and endlessly scrolling. An oil painter by passion, Hao Yen studied Product Design in college, where he unexpectedly found himself fascinated by wood-fired ceramics. He switched his major entirely and began obsessively learning the craft. It was, by his own admission, a hard transition and one of the most humbling moments came when he realized how much even the weather could affect a wood-firing session. He plied his trade for years, until the pandemic, when the communal gathering required at a woodfire kiln became a liability—and he was forced to give it up for a time.



His favorite aspect of the wood kiln is ash. Ash is another factor beyond control and an inevitability. Wood ashes burst and crackle, drift and fall amid the pieces within, but, most essentially, act as a flux: reducing the melting point of a glaze. This flux, differences in temperature, and minerals in the glaze produce unique coloration and texture. When the pandemic forcibly drove him away from his first love, Hao Yen Chang sought a creative solution. He sourced wood ash from previous kiln firings and was able to “re-use” them in his smaller home studio kiln. These attempts failed, over and over again. But with determination, he achieved a success in two years. Though he would be the first to say that it is not a true wood-fired kiln result—he had accidentally created a process all of his own.



Rather than fight with the clay to make it conform—he seeks to honor the unique conditions, the things that lie beyond control, all the while trying to convey the authentic feelings of the moment. His works are stark, simple, “reflecting the feelings of my heart for the objects” and even with the pieces that contain an innate luster, there is a calm restraint. Objects are the record of life but also a conversation with nature and Chang’s pieces interface with his own memories of the sea, rocks and mountains of his hometown, Keelung. If his process’s ideology had a name, it might be “incrementalism.” Savoring each step, slowly, by step, and enjoying the ongoing dialogue with the material. “Isn’t it the same as life?” his artist statement asks.



A dedicated black tea drinker he told us that, most simply, he makes wares from which he would like to drink. They are an extension of his own desire. Hao Yen Chang hopes to convey the simplicity of forms, the plainness, sincerity and warmth of the objects. ✮

Shop Hao Yen Chang's 'Favor' piece. Only one is available.