In the depths of winter, I drove to the Hakka town of Sanyi in Miaoli County, Taiwan. In recent years, Sanyi has gradually developed into an art town, and as I left the highwayand entered Sanyi, many art galleries, both large and small appeared along the roadside. Several ceramic galleries leapt into my vision. The captivating, misty street scene compelled me to slowly browse and admire the ceramics, and sip the tea proffered, experiencing the delightful meeting of these two art forms. So, I found myself beside the Sanyi train station at the Qian Ding Kiln. This place is conveniently situated near the train station, but once inside, seems totally cut off from the hustle and bustle outside; it feels like the kiln owner Qiu Dengfeng chose this location as a quiet place to sip tea with friends and make ceramics.
Thirty years ago, Qiu Dengfeng established the Xintian Xiusan Studio on the wood sculpture street in Sanyi, displaying his works which demonstrated a confluence of ceramic glaze teckniques with calligraphic decoration. In 2008, due to a chance opportunity and a change in personal artistic style the studio began a new life as the Qian Ding Since establishing the Qian Ding kiln, Liu Dengfeng has focussed on creating tea ware, experimenting mixtures,glazes and the forms of his pieces attempting to create utensils that are perfect for brewing tea.
Qiu Dengfeng say that he combines local Taiwanese clay with mineral clays, using a reduction firing technique, adding much charcoal into the fire during the firing process. This carbon fuses with the city body of his pieces, creating celadon tea ware that enliven one's tea drinking experience. Clay body, firing technique and glaze are skilfully combined to actively sweeten the water, transforming the water molecules resulting in a milder, rounder tasting tea. This is a special detail that Qui Dengfeng attentively attempts to realise in all of his tea ware.
Many ceramists Taiwan produce tea ware, some of them focus on the form of their work, others focus on glaze colour;orthrs still focus on on function, while Qiu Dengfeng manages to combine all of these in his work. Looking at his Iron Rim Twin Ring Teacup, apart from the well proportioned thrown form, the rim of the cup is spacious and simple in beauty: compared with your average teacup, the rim of the cup is notably thicker, further emphasised by the warm flowing tone of the celadon glaze. The two rings that adorn the cup are particularly splendid, the glaze truly giving them the appearance of jade. The moment one sips tea from these cups, and the cup touches the lip, a new experience in tea drinking begins. Some have described the feeling as similar to jade, an apt description. Drinking from this cup is indeed a unique experience, the tea seems to be more limpid, and thicker in consistency. Qiu Dengfeng says that this effect is even more noticeable if the cups are used to serve alcoholic drinks, clearly to sip from these cups is a personal experience that needs to be tried to be understood.
The piece discussed above can be seen as Qui Dengfeng's recent masterpiece, distinguished from his previous ceramic endeavours. Qiu Dengfeng stated that his inspiration for the creation came from the thick rims of tea jugs, but what did he assume he would achieve by applying this style to tea cup rims? He began by experimenting: throwing and trimming pieces, varying glaze thickness and homogeneity, controlling firing temperatures, and repeating these processes. When he finally succeeded in making his Twin Purple Mouth Jade Ring Teacup, he realised that the most difficult part of creating this cup was in the early stages of throwing and trimming, creating a fitting structure and sense of force within the pieces was key. Due to the thickness of glazing, only after glaze firing could a true impression of the piece be gained.
Picking up the Iron Rim Twin Ring Teacup and carefullyexamining the piece, although the piece lacks calligraphic decoration, the form and glaze decoration of the piece have a calli-graphic charm in their suggestion of movement and control: the piece is understated, yet powerful, permeated with gentle restraint. The mild impression given by the jade rings augment the visual impression of the piece, while providing our lips with an interesting tactile impression. Using these cups to drink tea is not solely a drinking experience, but a step further into life experience, a moment of aesthetic living.
Of course, apart from cups, Qiu Dengfeng produces many functional and aesthetically pleasing teapots, of these, his Heavenly Will Round Moon Teapot (the design of which he has patented) is his pride and joy. There are many small holes drilled into the lid of this teapot, giving the teapot the ability to simultaneously function as a jug to hold tea before serving into cups, as well as making the teapot suited to brewing teas that require lower water temperatures. This type of teapot also allows the user to pour in water without lifting the lid, giving the pot the nickname "Lazy Man’s Teapot."
Tea ware surrounds us in our everyday lives, but if we look at Qiu Dengfeng's work, it is plain to see that he is constantly striving to make breakthroughs, not content with relying on long established styles and forms, audaciously creating his own uniaue style of work. His workis not only original, but functionality is also augmented in his pieces, providing those who use them with new, moving experiences.
1960 Born in Pingdong County, Taiwan (Original name: Qui Xiu san)
1983 Became a permanent member of the Chinese Calligraphy Association
1984 Selected for Sino-Japanese Calligraphy Exchange Exhibition
1995 Sino-Japanese Ceramics Exhibition
1996 Artistic Advisor to Zhonghua Telecom Labour Union
1996 Gaoxiong Municipal Culture Centre Calligraphy and Ceramics Exhibition1997 Gaoxiong County Culture Centre Calligraphy and Ceramics Exhibition 1999 Established Xintian Xiusan Studio
2007 Established Dengfeng Ceramic Studio (Changed name to Qiu Dengfeng)
2009 Established Qian Ding workshop
Tokyo Municipal Arts Museum "Exploring the beauty of Taiwan" Exhibition
Ceramic piece Dahao Xiangguang collected by the Tokyo Municipal Arts Museum
Solo Exhibition Xinzhu Guanxi Service Area Culture Gallery Xinzhu County Cultural Bureau: Opening Tung Blossoms, New Creativity Joint Exhibition
2010 Foguang Mountain Jlnguang Ming Temple Spring Festival Joint Exhibition
2011 Yingge Ceramics Museum, Celadon Study and Research Exhibition