We had the good fortune of connecting with Ting Chu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ting, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I personally believe in honoring and standing ground to our own truth, it truly is one of the fundamental rights we were born with. So once this truth is challenged whether by outside narratives or our own, I feel it is important that one needs an unconditional space where they can allow themselves to be or at least feel safe to explore whatever they could become. This is where my studio space could support, to act as a safe space for people to come and ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. We have a ceramic studio and hold workshops for both beginners and intermediate to come and explore with clay. We won’t push them to create something, instead we just hold a space where they feel free of judgement and pressure to be anything, thus the process of creation will naturally occur. I think that this simple process allows one to experience firsthand the autonomy of themselves through their body while working with clay and slowly build up a sense of faith in their own unknown potential. And once the well-being of a person is addressed, it is only natural that that sense of caring will overflow towards their surroundings. We are in an age where the idea of reclaiming your own truth, worth, definition, empathy, autonomy, aesthetics, mission etc, are much louder and stronger than before. I want to be a part of that whether big or small.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is expressed through two medium; illustrations and ceramics. The illustration part started since I was a kid, drawing and doodling in my inner world from primary throughout high school and uni, it was my sanctuary and my personal study. Being self taught, I think my style was formed through a sense of trying out and playing, I felt lucky to not have been pressured that it had to satisfy anyone or standards and that formed me and my style to be very confident even through the hard times when I started out illustrating as a profession. I truly had never doubted my choice in becoming an illustrator; I didn’t care or gave any thoughts if I would become well-known or even hired. This was what I ‘chose’ to do,
Ceramics came to me through chance, I started by helping out in my friend’s studio because I was broke. I didn’t think of it as anything at first and got to do many repetitive things which slowly formed a memory in my body. Until one day someone suggested that I should try making my illustrated characters into clay, then the rest just spiraled from there and now I couldn’t stop sculpting. The work with my friend also led us to set up a studio together and we held pottery workshops there. I didn’t think it would last nor did I expected anything of it. I just got along with where it would flow which got bigger and stronger and better. By the time I knew it, that studio has a life of its own and it is serving the community in ways we never planned it could do. It was quite an amazing experience.
But there is also another part in me that I’m passionate about, which is Jungian psychology. I’ve always wanted to illustrate this wonderful approach about the human psyche and our relationship with ourselves and the world through a medium that I’m used to. It could be either illustrations or ceramics, I didn’t mind which it was. Then the universe replied and a friend offered me a space that I could open a studio of my own where I could explore this further. He also invited me to create some short picture stories that talks about my experience in doing inner work through a platform he is running which is about spiritual education. So it has been my adventure for the past year throughout COVID, communicating the power of self knowledge and unconditional acceptance through drawings and clay.
I can say that the road which led me to where I am now was challenging but fulfilling. Nothing was planned because I couldn’t plan anything, I could only go with the flow and I’ve appreciated everything that I’ve been lead to. I still can’t really say what my goal in life is, but I do know I have my mediums, I have my passion about the human psyche and I trust in the spaces I flow in, that it will allow me to use what I have to follow an inner calling, whatever it is.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Being an introvert, I not much of a go-to about getting around town. But if I do have to take this role, I would definitely take them out to all the amazing street food Bangkok has to offer. I have no specific place I know but we can try out different places each day. I would ask them if they would like to explore the old Bangkok-Noi, the long standing ma and pa’s shops, the street shops and people that has lived here for generations around my area at BangkhunNon. We can also go to those craft beer places which are still standing despite of COVID. Other than the fact that I love their food and their services, I’m also in awe of their story, their relationship with the city itself, and the perseverance the had to have in face of the pandemic and the hardship of the economy since Thailand’s coup d’état in 2014.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d first like to shoutout to my professor who showed me what unconditional acceptance feels like and that alone has created this sense of trust in myself and things that I wouldn’t be able to have trusted before. I’d also like to shoutout to my ‘family’ with members that consist more than just biological members, they are the root that I ground to whenever things get rough and the earth that nourishes me whenever I become empty. And finally, shoutout to all my supporters; the communities I’ve lived in, the people I’ve met, the earth and air and beings that allow me to still be alive, I am truly grateful.