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Collect at Somerset House 2023
I am fascinated by the physical quality of plants: the textures and patterns of leaves, stems and flowers. For some years, I have been pressing plants into clay and continue to be captivated by the detail they leave behind. It seemed a logical progression then, to describe plants sculpturally, moving from inscribing clay with the structure of plants, to building their forms three-dimensionally.
This collection began with my trying to find a way to capture the tangled messiness of Jasmine that I have growing in my garden and have seen tumbling over walls as I walk around London. I love the way the neat scented flowers and the precise pinnate leaves contrast with the plant’s undisciplined rambling nature. Similarly Wisteria has a delicacy in flower that belies its rampant strength. Acanthus leaves are an age-old architectural motif, but their incredible sculptural flowers, made up of a tissue-thin corolla encased by spiny sepals, are often overlooked. By juxtaposing the assumed fragility of porcelain with malleable wire attached and visually softened with tissue paper, I aim to capture this contradiction of strength and delicacy which is so often a characteristic of plants and flowers.
Wisteria pieces
I enjoy the challenge of replicating every detail of the plant: first observing and dissecting the living plant and then modelling each component by hand. I am awed by the complexity of a plant’s construction and, beyond its botany, how every petal or leaf has a subtle difference in the way it curls or ripples or curves. These aspects lend themselves well to hand-making, so although a repetitive process, each small piece is satisfyingly unique.

Living with these sculptures over the past months, I am startled to see how, in spite of the static nature of the material, they are constantly changing. As when looking up into the canopy of a tree or watching Wisteria flowers hanging in front of my studio window, these pieces are full of movement as they continually respond to the play of light. The absence of colour or glaze and the hardness of wire and porcelain allows the forms to take on a surprisingly organic life of their own, which is a very satisfying outcome considering the awesome vitality of the plants that are my inspiration.

Spring 2023
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