Chen Li


The seal script, a form of Chinese calligraphy used mostly on seals, inspires my thesis work. In both East and West, the seal is a personal signature for letter correspondence as a communication. Written communication is an excellent process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts and feelings towards a mutually accepted goal or direction. Through this source of inspiration, I will attempt to create a dialogue about cultural differences between my Chinese heritage and the new experiences in America. Sometimes, this relationship is easy and straightforward, but sometimes it creates conflicts. For my Thesis body of work, I began with two subjects that intrigued me and were representative of the cultural challenges I have experienced. The first was the dynamic relationship between individuals and family. The second was different interpretations of the cross-cultural traditional saying: "rules are rules". With these two subjects as a starting point, I created a number of furniture objects that were inspired from my source--the seal script. The seal script characters have been created as dynamic forms, full of curves and intriguing structures. In the body of work, I wanted to maintain a prevailing simple beauty and graceful quality. Characters were first broken down into parts, as I studied lines, profiles and forms that could be rearranged to translate two-dimensional graphics into three-dimensional forms. The resulting furniture needed to support human rituals and activities, and simultaneously develop a narrative that would address Eastern and Western cultural similarities and differences. My design research and the furniture making process became the embedded procedure for my dialogue. The outcome would result in a body of work that could interact and engage with my audience, both physically and intellectually.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Furniture design--Themes, motives; Furniture design--Technique; Calligraphy, Chinese--Pictorial works

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Tannen, Rich

Advisor/Committee Member

Buck, Andy

Advisor/Committee Member

Zordervick, Zerbe


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2013. Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NK2260 .L4 2013


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes