Meet the Korean dancer whose houseplant obsession inspired a new career in pottery

Her love of plants led to wanting to create them beautiful homes. "I want to make something that dresses up every plant."


National News

October 8, 2021 - 5:21 PM

Mipa Shin, a ceramic artist creating planters that are inspired by her love of plants, at her studio in Los Angeles. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES — Artist Mipa Shin sits on a low metal stool next to her pottery wheel and prepares to talk houseplants. Smiling, pointing to the planters that line the shelves of her single-car-garage-turned-ceramics-studio, her excitement grows, just like her favorite plant: the tall, sculptural Adenia venenata.

She loves caudiciform succulents — plants that have an above-soil round caudex — and designs squat planters that highlight the plant’s swollen stem. She’s a huge fan of fern leaf cactus, which she likes to grow out of the bottom of her UFO-shaped hanging planters and has been known to drape delicate heart-shaped Dischidia ruscifolia variegata from the mouth of her macaroni-shaped vessels.

Shin’s planters are difficult to label because she designs each one to complement the rare plants that capture her interest. That’s what makes them so special: Each vessel is inspired by her love of plants. There are chocolate brown and speckled buff vessels for caudex, pagoda planters for Adenia glauca, checkerboard glazed pots for pussywillows, striped planters for Pilea peperomioides and philodendrons and donut-shaped vessels for hoyas and airplants.

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