I am primarily interested in using the ceramic form as a surface for painting. My subject matter relates to the environment.
Ceramics has a long historical tradition of referencing botanical sources for decoration and my most recent ceramic vessels respond to an interest in site specific plants. My current working method is to source cuttings and produce water color paintings on paper of selected plants that I am interested in depicting. I transpose the image onto bone dry, hand built vessels by applying layers of ceramic stain. As with botanical illustration, I attempt to depict the life cycle of the plant including the bud, flower, fruit, and occasional pollinating insect.
My imagery has largely concentrated on introduced species – those plants found in remnant early colonial gardens deemed necessary for survival. This interest has extended to the weeds that arrived with those introduced species, weeds that have proliferated and survived in the harsh Australian climate.
Recently however, I have become interested in depicting Australian native species, specifically Banksias and Correas found along the Victorian coast line as it extends towards New South Wales. These works include depiction of the bird and insect life I have observed in the Banskia forests, attempting to provide an idea of the plant’s overall habitat. While my work previously considered the impact of introduced species on the Australian environment, I have become passionately interested in depicting the native environment, particularly at a time when it appears under threat from climate change, bushfire, and our expanding human footprint. Using the vessel as a vehicle for painting and narrative allows my abiding interest in the natural world to flourish.
I like to think of these as useful objects complemented by informative drawings, with a healthy nod to the decorative tradition instilled in utilitarian objects.