Dingfang ZHOU

“I am a native of Yixing, Jiangsu. I played in the mud by my mother’s mud stool as a child; I played hide-and-seek in the urns, pots and basins in the ceramic factory area; picked pine branches by the burning ancient dragon kiln; and went to climb trees to catch golden birds. I caught hold of one, but I was smashed by a wall made of pots, basins, and urns. I also went to catch sparrows under the low-thatched huts, which were also earth-walled houses stacked with urns.

Childhood there is always connected with pottery jars and pots. All you see is pottery. This is the pottery capital of the production area. I am the child of a worker in the pottery capital of the production area. Having been surrounded by clay, it is natural that my destiny is connected to clay.

Sometimes I think that I am really lucky to have one of the best professions in the world. I deal with mud all day long : coarse, fine, dry, wet, and various colors. Faced with this group of gentle, highly plastic mud, I sincerely feel that it is so kind, warm, and tame. It can change into various shapes in one’s hands, especially after careful design and production, carefully manipulating it given its dryness. Carefully placing it in the kiln, after the baptism of flames, the moment it is out of the kiln, all the bitterness, hard work, everything turns into joy and happiness. Then, during a moment of leisure, I pick up a clay pot that I squeeze in my hands, soaked in a cup of Yixing black tea, savor it carefully, and ponder quietly, feeling that life is really beautiful.”

Since 1988, Zhou Dingfang has been engaged in the creative making of Zisha teapots and has established her remarkable and distinctive style. By combining sculptural forms, freehand style and contemporary ceramic conceptions into an organic integrity, she has broken away from the bondage of traditional forms and, thus, received great attention and appreciation. Today, she is praised as a “pioneering artist” in the Zisha circle.

Over the years, she has been invited to over ten countries for visit and exchanges, including the Great Britain, the United States of America, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Austria and others.

She has been interviewed by many Chinese and foreign media including the World Daily of San Francisco, American South Times of Houston, Ta Kung Pao of Hong Kong, Artsky Channel of CCTV, Beijing TV, Beijing Daily, Jinghua Times, Newsport of Shanghai TV, Focus channel of Yixing TV, Yangtze Evening News and Yixing Daily.

Her works have been collected by the British Museum, Nottingham Ceramics Museum of England, the US Metropolitan Museum, San Francisco Asian Art Museum of the United States, Gardiner Ceramics Museum of Canada, Korea Ceramics Museum, China National Art Museum, Ziguangge Pavilion of Zhongnanhai and many other institutions.