Enter the mind and studio of potter Dwo Wen Chen, and you will find a wonderland of birds, berries, flowers, and roosters.
At Three Wheel Studio in Providence, Rhode Island, glossy finishes and dreamy colors dance and swirl over exquisite handcrafted ceramics. In addition to works by Chen, Three Wheel features beautiful creations in glass, wood, and metal by both local and out-of-state artisans. The whimsical pieces and thematic collections are delicious to the eyes: from trays and vases to the most perfectly imperfect tea kettles and mugs you’ll ever see, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something to suit your fancy. (Or, you know, your family’s fancy, as these one-of-a-kind items would make a darling holiday gift. Just look at those hand-painted birds with the puffy cheeks for crying out loud!)
A RISD graduate and native of Taiwan, Chen injects his life story into each of his pieces, all of which are created on site. While the Flowers and Pigments collection is an extension of his graduate work, the Chicks and Roosters collection is an homage to his childhood, when his mother would hatch chickens in his sweater drawer. A regular old mug from the store around the corner definitely won’t come with a backstory half as charming as that.
The playful nature of Chen’s work—from the bright, youthful colors to the quirky shapes and sizes—is truly what sets Three Wheel Studio apart. It seems all the more delightful knowing that Chen only recently felt comfortable enough to call himself a studio potter. “It started one day when I opened up my kiln and found an almost perfect little tea bowl with just the right glaze,” he says. “To a potter, that was a perfect day.”