Jakie Leung is one of the founding members of the Contemporary Ceramic Society Hong Kong. He learned ceramics in England and was trained as a studio potter in his undergraduate programme and an industrial ceramic designer in his MA studies. His extensive knowledge and ability in clay facilitates different roles he has in ceramics; a ceramicist, a teacher, a concept shop owner and work on commission.
Back to Hong Kong in the late eighties, he wondered whether full time teaching in tertiary institutes was good for him. A freelancer was his final choice and he began to teach in private studio, community centres and an award bearing programme of Hong Kong Art Centre.
Leung described himself as a strict teacher. Analytical and target orientated, his teaching pushes students to their limit. He believes that this is intended for students’ benefit. On the other hand, he gives opportunities to some potential and earnest graduates with commission work and exhibitions so as to keep them working in clay.For those quitted pottery soon after the programme,he encourages them by providing chances and support so as to refresh their memory of clay loving from the start.
Leung’s pot making emphasizes on mind and hands coordination. Noticing one’s hands and mind when working with clay is important. Every year he uses a period of time concentrating on the practices of throwing big platters. Consistently reworking on the project for 30 years allows reflections of his progress. He tried to use the concept of Tai Chi in his throwing recently.
Comparatively,hand building is more casual and takes a short time to finish. In his sharing, he introduces this practice as a training of his fingers to feel the clay and precisely construct the form corresponding to the mind. Therefore his pots carry not only desired form but also his spirit.
Leung glazed his pots lightly so as to highlight the form and its weight. As a potter, Leung understood that there are lots of variables in the process of making. Therefore, a good pot come out of the kiln is such a grateful thing that he will keep it as a treasure.
Apart from the above self-reflection practice, Leung works on commission too. He described it communication training for him. Presenting his ideas, listening to the art consultants’expectation and negotiating budgets are all good experience. If needs and expectation are fulfilled for both parties, future co-operation would be helpful.
Some of his commission work has to be done in Jingdezhen, China. Leung was fascinated by the young workers there. They are hardworking and willing to learn. With the help of these trustworthy young guys, his projects were usually finished successfully. In return he bought some of their work and sold in his concept shop in Hong Kong. Therefore, these young people were motivated to make their own work and earned a living.
Those were stories and experience he shared with me in his concept shop. You may find more stories there on his antique furniture, glass collection from Europe, wooden handmade trays, the canvas from Shanghai, the dried lotus cups from Jingdezhen and ceramics.