New Chinese Teaware made by European Ceramic Artist- Inge Nielsen

Wenzhuo Liu

Inge Nielsen was a graduate student studying Chinese contemporary literature. She was once obsessed with the poetry of Chinese contemporary poets such as Bei Dao and Gu Cheng of the misty poetry school. She studied and lived in Beijing for many years. Coincidentally, when she lived in Taiwan, she turned her hobby of ceramic art into work and successfully turned her appreciation of the beauty of shapeless literature into her love of the beauty of tangible ceramic artifacts. Although Inge now lives in Belgium, her creation is always inspired by Chinese elements, such as traditional Chinese window lattice, ginkgo leaf pattern, celadon, blue and white porcelain and so on.

Inge has been studying in Beijing since the early 1990s. She has successively done exchange projects and studies at People’s University of China and Beijing University, and then lived in Beijing for many years. In 2009, Inge lived in Taiwan because of her husband’s work. Out of curiosity, she began to learn to make ceramics. She insisted on studying in the local ceramic studio for more than three years. Her ceramics were sold to many countries in the world, and she gradually turned this hobby into work. After settling in Belgium, Inge began to focus on making teapots. She loves tea and drank old Beijing flower tea when she was in Beijing. When she came to Taiwan, she gradually liked oolong tea. She felt that teapots were the most difficult in ceramics and liked to challenge herself so much. Chinese teapots in the European market are still popular with customers, small in size and convenient for mailing. Although major customers in Europe want her to produce in mass, she is not interested in receiving a large number of wholesale orders. She hopes to spend more time on new attempts and creations and have fun in learning and research, which has always been her most important task.

Inge visited Jingdezhen in 2003. Unfortunately, she didn’t start making ceramics and didn’t do more research at that time. She will plan to visit and study various ceramic producing areas in China in the future. She likes the kiln transmutation in porcelain technology very much, that is, the uncertain natural change of the surface glaze color of porcelain due to the change of temperature in the kiln during the firing process. In recent years, she has made a series of kiln transformed teapots, which are very popular with customers. She also participated in some ceramic competitions. With a good attitude, she said she didn’t care whether she won the prize or not, but focused on participation and communication. I met Inge at the Berlin Tea Festival. She had a booth selling her own tea sets, but she said that this was her first and last time to participate in similar activities. She was shy and did not adapt.

I found that recently, more and more European ceramic artists began to make Chinese tea sets, and the sales market seems to have expanded. Customers like to listen to the stories of ceramic artists. People like Inge, who are inextricably linked with mysterious China, are more in line with their appetite. This is Inge’s advantage, but for some artists who are not interested in tea and tea culture, how long they can stick to making Chinese tea sets is a challenge. The tea set is an object, which is endowed with cultural significance only by using it. It is not difficult to imagine that Inge will enjoy this kind of fun by appreciating the tea set made by herself and playing in the hands of others, and then sharing photos on social media, plus a few poems and feelings. She has always liked the tea culture of Fujian and Taiwan. She misses that many years ago in Taiwan, everyone gathered informally to drink tea and chat. In Belgium, she also organized friends to attend her tea party, but after all, the tea culture is different, friends and relatives can’t understand it, and there is still a little regret that there is no strong tea atmosphere.


Related article has been published in Wenzhuo‘s column Tea Perspectives of July 2022 <Tea Times 茶博览> monthly tea magazine in Chinese, 观茶者专栏-欧洲陶瓷手艺人的新中式茶具”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *