About me

Thien Nguyen

I see pottery as a way to connect with people. I want you to touch each piece, pick it up, and look at it from different points of view. I hope it will trigger your imagination, your memories, or remind you of something else.

I started by making functional pieces that people could use in their daily routine: the teacup, the noodle bowl, the dinner plate. I wanted to make unique and beautiful objects that could turn ordinary activities into special moments. Over time, I started experimenting with decorative pieces as well, and discovered immense excitement in the freedom it gives me to explore shapes, textures and glazes.

Currently, I focus mostly on wheel-thrown raku vessels. I am very meticulous with the shape of each piece and I try to push the limits of the clay, and also the limits of my throwing skills to make them as big and light as I can. I want to surprise you when you pick it up.

I am loose and experimental with the glazing. I alter my glazes to get new colors so that each piece is always different. The glaze is poured so that it runs and finds it own path around the pot because I like the organic look of it and the contrast between the glazed and unglazed surfaces.

I fire my vessels using the American Raku technique. The pieces are heated to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, removed from the kiln and placed in a container with sawdust to smoke and reduce. I try to control for the color and finish but the appeal of rakuing is the variable effect of the heat and smoke on the final piece. It is different every time and I never know what I will get until the smoke clears.

Everyone sees things differently and I am interested in what we see when we look at the same object. Just like each person sees different things in cloud formations, I hope you will see something in my raku pieces that speaks to you personally. What I most want is to surprise, to elicit your imagination so that you connect my pieces with something in your memory, and in yourself.

I live in Washington, DC and work out of the Lee Arts Center in Arlington, VA. I am a member of the Kiln Club, Montgomery Potters, and the Waverly St. Gallery.

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One thought on “About me

  1. Good meeting you tonight and thank you for the tour to the Center. I browsed through your website and I really like your work. We’ll talk again.

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