Taylor Cowan • August 07, 2023

Unveiling Artistry: Meet ceramist, A Zhi of Taiwan

Meet the Producer


Shop A Zhi's pieces, 'Luck' and 'Willpower' here.


For the eponymous centerpieces of our Luck and Willpower release, we selected the wunderkind and celebrated Taiwanese ceramicist, Sheng Zhi Wu. Sheng Zhi Wu learned ceramics along and calligraphy at a young age, later dipping further into his interdisciplinary study with painting and sculpture as well. His amazing trajectory has been the product of discipline, study-honed talent, and fortuitous circumstance.



He was born into a legendary ceramics family, the son of accomplished ceramicist Cheng-Hsien Wu, known as “the Wizard of Taiwan Clay” and his mother Ying-Ru Liu, who for years has been researching and collecting Taiwanese clay deposits from her expeditions into the Central Mountain Range. Though the circumstances of one’s birth are beyond one’s control, Sheng Zhi worked with an ardent and admirable fastidiousness to become a master of his craft. By the time he graduated high school, he was already receiving national praise for his works and seen as every bit the successor to his father’s legacy.




A member of the renowned Ren Fu Zan Hu Clay Studio (人福在壺陶工作室), Sheng Zhi has pursued an approach to clay which combines a contemporary, innovative sense of play and experimentation with traditional form. His focus and perhaps greatest source of renown comes from his nonpareil use of texture and color—of which he is able to organically elicit superb shows of rarely seen pigments. While his father worked only with clay, glass has been essential to the younger Wu’s process. Each year, Sheng Zhi attempts to create two new colors for his collectors.



In glazing, it is necessary to combine a blend of minerals with a suitable clay. Research has shown that there are twelve orders of soil in the whole world, eleven of which occur in Taiwan. These major categories can be subdivided into approximately 1,052 sub-types. Rather than be daunted by the sheer variety, Sheng Zhi follows his geologist mother in being entranced with the possibilities. He told us that Taiwan represents a unique nexus of clays in that it is on the boundary between the Philippine Sea plate and Eurasian Plate, the youngest and oldest tectonic plates on earth, respectively. Tectonic activity literally unearths new soils in Taiwan.


It is a complicated process blending raw material, which he likens to the multidimensionality of ink painting: like creating new hues by blending on a palette, but also the actual texturality and dimension of oil applied to canvas.  The material, the firing time and temperature; the ratio of different glazes and each piece’s location in the kiln all affect the finished product—and he is fascinated by the desirable causality of each of the factors. His ceramics carry the additional consideration of the “expression of fire” and Sheng Zhi displays unique mastery of deriving color and form from his kiln. His techniques are innovative and his works are coveted across Taiwan.



When asked about his greatest mentor, he tells us without hesitation it was his father, who he looks upon with a mixture of admiration and respect, “he is passionate, relentless, and down-to-earth.” A passionate tea drinker himself, Wu hopes that you enjoy his work and appreciate the beauty of Taiwanese aesthetics through a contemporary lens. ✮



Shop A Zhi's pieces, 'Luck' and 'Willpower' here.