By Regina M. Connell.
I’ve been going through a phase recently where the minimal has been appealing to me a little less. I want things a little more baroque, so to speak (not fully but a little more in that direction), where there’s pattern and ornamentation, signs of obsession and a vibrant personality.
But then I see work like Silvia Song‘s. Maybe, I think, I should stay the minimalist course: that minimal can be moving and interesting. And then I think, maybe, it’s just because she’s so good that her work just throbs with a personality and intensity that come from within, that aren’t constrained by form. It’s far too rare a thing as far as I’m concerned.
San Francisco Bay Area-based Silvia creates exquisitely wrought bowls, vessels, and boards out of wood, calling herself a “wood potter,” and her work has been blowing me away for a while now.
It’s hard for me to decide which piece of hers I’m most drawn to. It might actually be her cutting boards (particularly when stacked atop each other, ziggurat style.) I know they’re functional and not just sculptural, but I can definitely see a trio of cutting boards displayed somewhere far from the kitchen.
But then, there are the bowls she’s created out of maple dipped in indigo with the help of natural-dye specialist Kristine Vejar of A Verb for Keeping Warm. Definitely obsession-worthy and deeply, achingly beautiful in their own right. Perhaps they could be displayed on top of the cutting boards?
The fact that she’s a former architect is clear: her designs are breathtakingly and deceptively simple—perfectly balanced and formed, hinting at classicism but looking utterly modern.
It’s the wood itself that makes you want to touch, touch, touch her pieces. Often made of maple and the rare claro walnut available in Northern California, they’re buttery smooth (the mark of a true artisan), and it’s clear that she sees the grain of the wood as a way to extend and deepen her design. Materials matter here, when the work is so rigorously simple: Song works with a city arborist who emails her photos of felled trees.
Sylvia’s as passionate, meticulous, and intense about her work as she is gifted—a maker who is as dedicated to the craft as to the design, someone who’s unafraid of experimentation and play.