This high-quality ceramic dinnerware comes from a long family line of craftsmen

May 26 2021, 9:42 am


Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.


Shuobi Wu grew up in Teoswa, China, in a family of over 30 members. When he moved to Vancouver as a child, he brought with him memories of family, food, gathering, and celebration.

In this feeling of homesickness and yearning for connection, Wu had a strong desire to create something to bring into his new life and to his new home. To him, what he makes is nostalgia.

To the locals of Vancouver, he creates long-lasting, durable, timeless, and beautiful ceramic tableware through his company, Lineage.

 

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Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local entrepreneurs. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses and artists, we talked to Shuobi Wu, about missing his home and the inspiration it created for his business. 

I came to Vancouver about three years ago and, quite luckily, made a lot of great friends,” Wu told Daily Hive.

“After settling down here, I started thinking more about what family means to me (guess it’s also age), and Lineage came to my mind in an instant. My friends here gave me some really good advice and encouraged me to start the business,” he added.

His friends gave him advice and his family gave him inspiration. Lineage is Wu’s way of honouring the heritage that he comes from and continues to celebrate. He had his idea and knew what he had to do first.

 

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I took a flight home to talk to my parents,” Wu told us. “The thing is, I grew up watching my father make ceramics in his studio. But when my brother and I were young, he specifically told us never to do ceramics, because it’s a tough business,” he added.

It was a well thought out plan and a passionate pitch that helped sway the opinions that meant most to Wu.

“When I told [my dad] about the business idea, I could see his eyes glowing,” he said. “We went back to his studio the next day, to look at the ceramics and work together on glazing and firing some of his work,” Wu added.

Wu already knew making these handcrafted ceramics was a way to bring his heritage closer to himself, and create nostalgia with his own hands, but this meeting completely sold him on the idea.

 

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While we were there, alone, he started to tell me all these stories about how my great grand uncle immigrated to Hong Kong and started the family’s first ceramics business around the 1920s, and how the ‘lineage’ was passed down to my grand uncle, his brothers, and then grandpa. All the stories that I’ve never heard of. That was the moment where I thought, Lineage is what I am meant to pursue,” said Wu.

The ceramics that Wu creates through Lineage are designed with gorgeous detail, a minimalist style with a matte glaze in the stoneware. The actual inspiration for the art of it all comes in many different forms for Wu.

I have a book on Japanese ceramists that I bought in San Francisco that helped me construct the style and look I wanted to achieve,” said Wu. 

 

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The book was a great blueprint, but Wu adds his own spin and flare to the design from other passions in his life.

During my time in Oakland and San Francisco (Wu was there for a year after college), I tried a lot of Korean food, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Indian, Laotian, and then here in Vancouver I got to try some Armenian, Ukrainian, and Syrian dishes from friends I know and treasure. There are so many styles of cuisines in the world with their own story. To me, the world is not only black and white, neither should my ceramics,” said Wu.

Wu seems to love the business he started, and he appreciates the Vancouver community around him that has helped and supported him along the way.

I love how supportive the entrepreneurial community is here,” said Wu. “Without the help and advice from our fellow friends it probably would’ve never been possible,” he added.

And he hopes his words of advice can help or inspire others in the city who want to start a business of their own.

 

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Starting your own business is tough, and the ride might not always be enjoyable everyday,” he said. “But when you’re working on something that you love, and actually means something, it’s much easier to convince yourself to work on that extra 20 per cent.”

Starting your own business certainly is difficult, especially when there’s a global pandemic. Wu had some pretty cool plans in the works he had to delay, and we just have to keep looking forward to.

We originally wanted to have a showroom for people, especially wholesalers to come see our products in real life,” said Wu.

“But COVID quickly hit, and we lost all of our restaurant deals in the early days, and couldn’t really risk having a showroom during the time. It’s definitely been a challenge because many people want to touch and feel the ceramics in real life before making a purchase,” he added.

 

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Especially now, being with the ones we are closest to and safest with can be our own way of celebrating our family. There’s no better way to do that then over the dinner table, so make the dishes you serve the food in beautiful, hand crafted ones from Lineage.

From spontaneous to elaborate meals, Lineage tableware is meant to bring any meal to life while encouraging us all together, reminisce, and create new memories set intentionally around good food and even better company,” Wu told us.

This content was created by Daily Hive’s editorial team independently, with financial support from a sponsor.
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