Uncle Wrinkle, a Chinese restaurant on New Cross Road, is a platform for the work of owner and local potter, Siu Kwan Wang.
Wang honed her pottery skills in China and Japan, and used to be an assistant to Julian Stair, an acclaimed academic and potter.
Wang has a studio in Peckham, which is open to the public once a month but also displays her pieces in her restaurant.
At first the art work was to decorate the restaurant, but needing more space for her pottery works, she saw the opportunity not only to display her work but to sell them in store.
Many customers are surprised about the display casts in the restaurant. Wang said: “Some people just take a picture for their girlfriends or sisters, and their girlfriend or sister choose from the pictures, and then they come back to buy it them as a gift.”
Wang’s interest in pottery began more than 20 years ago.
Before she moved to the UK, Wang lived in Hong Kong where her fascination for pottery began, when she was presented with tea in a Japanese ceramic cup. It was like finding a lost treasure.
However, she did not start to make pottery at this time, she needed someone to teach her. After she moved to London, she enrolled on a course at the Community Education Lewisham centre. “I started to feel like I lived in England from that time,” Wang said, as she remembers the time spent and knowledge learnt during her course.
Wang’s philosophy for her art work is: “put beauty in the everyday and art can be useful…I like simple and plain potteries.” She believes that art and beauty enriches people’s life and this makes people happier, as such, her artwork has a practical function for daily life.
For Wang, this means bowls. It reflects an important aspect of eating culture in China, which she fears is being lost. She hopes people will be reminded of this culture when they see her work.
Her husband admires her work very much, Wang said : “My husband refuses to wash the bowls because he is afraid to break them.” Consequently, the art works, now, are only used on the dining room table on special occasions.
“There are many artists who live in Lewisham.” Wang says: “but I think the art environment is not very good, the government should do more.” In her opinion, more space and funding should be available to artists in this area.
If you are interest in arts, pottery and Chinese food, Uncle Wrinkle is the place to go.