For Lynn Chang, founder of Uniqlay Ceramics, designing and making ceramic tableware is an expression of her cultural duality as a Taiwanese immigrant in the US. Ceramics connect her to her childhood and her mother's hometown in Taiwan, a mountainous region known for its tea and master potters. As a WOC, Lynn's commitment to diversity is the driving force behind every decision, even choosing the clay she works with. Read on to find out how Lynn is redefining tableware. And don't forget to check out the tea mug & tea bag holder made by Uniqlay Ceramics, exclusively for Us Two Tea.
How is Uniqlay Ceramics bringing diversity to the table?
1. The Making
Uniqlay Ceramics is owned and operated by a woman of color who makes all of the pieces by hand. WOC make up a tiny percentage of all businesses and industries related to Uniqlay (e.g. restaurants, ceramics/pottery, vendors in the supply chain).
2. The Design & Representation
Almost all dinnerware makers feature food that's catered to western dining. I find different cultures and heritages to be severely lacking in the world of dinnerware. Uniqlay highlights heritage-inspired foods and the cultural significance of what's put on the dining table.
3. Collaborations & Giving Back
Uniqlay Ceramics supports BIPOC and women-owned businesses with shared missions by providing them with our tableware for photo-staging and promotions at no cost. Uniqlay works exclusively with underrepresented businesses to create our brand's visual content.
What's the inspiration behind the tableware collections?
The underlying inspiration across the collections is "going back to the roots". The root of ceramics is the clay, which comes from the earth. Each collection is developed to showcase the unique qualities of the three types of clay that we use in our studio: porcelain (white and translucent), Moroccan sand (toasty beige and gritty), black stoneware (dark and rich). Most studios only use one type of clay. My decision to use multiple types of clay is an intentional one. The different clays represent the diversity that co-exists in nature - each has its unique qualities, beauty, and potential.
How do you hope to change people's perception of tableware?
Through Uniqlay Ceramics, I hope to remind people that:
- how we go about our daily routine is deeply tied to our heritage
- the lack of diversity in the tableware industry is an issue that deserves more attention
- the daily objects we use can be as meaningful and long lasting as family traditions
- conscious sourcing of daily objects adds value to our lives and respects our individuality