After she graduated from Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design Marseille, in France, in 2011, Sun Jinjin and two of her friends established Atelier Murmur Studio, in Paris, to produce and sell handmade ceramic artworks. "Murmur, the low whisper, is like the sound of nature. It also represents trivial and unnoticeable details in life. Using the name, we hope that we can express the 'unknown voices' through our ceramic artworks," says Sun.
Sun has lived in France for more than 10 years. She studied production design at Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design Marseille. Why did she choose to make ceramics for her career? "I don't like the working style of sitting in front of a computer. I love the feeling of making ceramics using my own hands. I feel excited when I create them and hold them in my hands," she says.
At first, Sun and her friends set up a stall on a street in Le Marais, Paris, so they could sell their handmade ceramics. There were also many other s on the street, and they were selling paintings or photographs.
A year after Sun and her partners, Wang Zhuo and Jiang Xinhe, established Atelier Murmur Studio in Paris, they opened a studio in Hangzhou, in East China's Zhejiang Province.
"The production cycle of our products is a bit long. We mainly receive orders from our clients, including Le bon marché (a famous department store in France), Eslite Bookstore and some other shops. We also regularly participate in exhibitions, expos and bazaars in different countries," Sun says.
In April last year, Sun attended the Milan Design Week. "As a Chinese designer and craftsperson, I actually know little about traditional Chinese crafts. I think maybe I will do something about inheriting traditional crafts when the time comes," she says.
When she talks about finding inspiration to create, Sun says that she likes to travel in nature and talk with people who have stories. "My creations usually have something to do with my experiences and feelings in real life," says Sun.
The candlestick with leaf design is one of their most popular artworks. The leaf vein in the artwork can be seen when people light a candle. "One of my partners and I used to live in Tartiers, a small town in northern France. Nature greatly inspired us. It was in that town that we created the candlesticks with leaf design, and cups with tree stump designs," Sun says.
She often participates in various activities, and she makes friends with people who share her interest in ceramic artworks. "China is the birthplace of ceramic-making techniques. I feel that we have had an easy start to our ceramic-making career in France," Sun says.
She enjoys her life in Paris. "As a freelancer, I feel that I am like a farmer who plants his/her own crops. I am not worried that I will run out of money, as I can receive more orders, or I can sell my products on the street at any time. We have a public vegetable garden in our block, which is like my backyard garden. Our neighbors usually plant and water vegetables after they finish work. Opposite the garden is a pub, and the boss is very humorous.
"I feel at ease and comfortable in France, which has a multicultural environment. It seems to me that there are many possibilities for my life here. It is like that you will meet different kinds of people and things during your hiking," Sun adds.
"On good summer days, I will still go to the street in Le Marais to sell my ceramic products. I like watching my artworks, displayed in the open air, being free and real," Sun says.
(Source: Women of China English Monthly June 2018 issue)