"Prosperity" -- My work consists of intricately handmade porcelain butterflies sewn on Chinese dresses. The idea came from living in China for over 10 years and experiencing life in the vast country. From afar, people can look at China and see a country with people almost looking the same. But if you look closely, China has many complex personalities, many different cultures mixed into one large pot. The Chinese words are made out of characters consisting of many strokes. Each stroke by itself means nothing, but when the strokes are put into patterns they make up words. The Chinese uses this kind of method of putting things together in daily life as well. The art of ceramic making is unique in the world; specialized skill workers put together and make one piece of fine work. Chinese believe in looking at the positive aspects of life and not dwell on the negative. Auspicious symbols are placed in homes to bring good luck and happiness. Even in the darkest times, people look into the future with positive hope. They use symbols such as bats, deer and peaches because these words sound like fortune, prosperity and longevity. I have called my butterfly outfits “Prosperity” also because “Clothing服” and “Prosperity福” are pronounced the same way “fu”. These outfits from afar look just like a dress, but when you look closely at the butterflies they are all unique and different. This is a China!
Caroline Cheng is an artist and curator. Her work has been collected by the British Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, San Francisco Asian Art Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Art. She has held solo exhibitions in Sotheby’s Hong Kong (2013) and New York (2015). Cheng has received prizes for her work in the Keramiak Museum in Westerwald, Germany (2010) and Clay and Glass Film Festival in Montpellier, France (2010) and also received the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the America National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in 2014.
Cheng has devoted her life in helping young aspiring craft artists in China setting up a platform for them to work and sell their work, and also is a major promoter of ceramics in China and overseas.
Caroline Cheng is the owner of the Pottery Workshop in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jingdezhen and Dali. The mission is to educate and promote the art of handmade ceramics.