My name is Cindy Hsu Zell and I am based in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in San Gabriel near the mountains and studied sculpture and animation at USC. My approach to art stems from this love of nature and movement as well as a deep curiosity about form, texture, and minimalism. I create sculptures using mindfully-sourced materials from nature: wood, ceramics, stone, and natural fibers. My work is process and material-driven. Individual pieces serve as studies on gesture, curves, depth, and weight.
Carving: My sculptures explore the technique of wood and stone carving as excavation. The biomorphic forms are revealed in a subtractive process as I cut away at solid blocks of natural material layer by layer.
Hand-spun rope: My technique for spinning and dyeing rope was developed in 2014 – It’s a careful and meditative process that results in a contrast between the softness of the fibers and the tension required to hold it all together. I find it fascinating that twisting something makes it exponentially stronger. You can see this in action by holding a piece of tissue and ripping it apart very easily, but then spin it tight and see how much more difficult it is! It's hard not to compare this to the idea that we are stronger together, that there's beauty in distributing the tension among individual strands and creating a support system that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Ceramics: The ceramic pieces featured in my work are made in collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist Alyson Iwamoto. Our partnership is rooted in the philosophy of finding beauty in natural materials, simplicity, and imperfection. The patience, gentleness, and skill she imparts from her clay practice has been incredibly inspiring and I'm grateful for our friendship as well as this creative project we share.
Finally, I am respectful of the quantity and quality of work I put out into the world. Each piece is meant to last and is made through a process that is slow, small, and intentional. The materials I use are of the highest quality and I am taking active measures to become carbon neutral while reducing waste in every area of production. I make donations regularly to causes that help create a kinder, more sustainable future and plant a tree for every piece sold through the non-profit One Tree Planted. I hope that my work treads lightly on the planet and its finite resources while bringing some joy and beauty to our most calming and safe spaces. My goal for every year is to make fewer pieces than the one prior. I hope you'll follow along!
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