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  • janenewaudby

Nature's resilience and a collaboration

About 18 months' ago I had this idea that I would like to create some pieces to look weathered, or encrusted with lichen. The idea is intended to represent how if you leave nature alone, she tends to reestablish herself.... like how tiny plants can push through tarmac, or the quiet decay of sunken shipwrecks. I remember reading the Triffids as a child and being fascinated by the image of nature quickly taking over the cities after they had been abandoned by people. For some reason the thought cheers me up. Anyway, I initially chose fairly abstract forms on which to apply the texture. The thought was that the object itself should appear man made but remain ambiguous. Anyway, the surface texture was pleasing (the wood shavings as usual achieve all the colour varations and enhance the texture which is applied with slip), but the pieces were not resonating as I intended - very few sold. I put the pieces to one side during the busy summer season to reflect on how to take them forward. Then the really wonderful Ann Symes who owns Gallery 57 in Arundel emailed me an image of my abstract pieces and asked me to submit work for a November 2023 exhibition in her gallery called "Unearthed", but she said she would like the pieces to be "tall". This gave me the time and incentive to explore the concept again... so I considered the pitcher as a form, as its such an iconic form associated with humans, stretching back through history - and precisely the sort of object that might be "unearthed". I slightly worried that the form was "too obvious" but thought I would give it a go. To my complete astonishment, the pieces have immediately captured the attention of visitors to the studio (leading to a panic making session in time for the first potfest). At potfest itself, I sold more of these than the smoother forms..... (leading to a second panic making session) It just goes to show that the marriage between a surface and a form is important, if not the key.... so if you perhaps have one but not the other, do not discard the concept completely. Persevere and with a small change, the idea can still come alive.

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