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Portrait photography by Michael Branthwaite


‘I am fascinated by the physical quality of plants: the textures and patterns of leaves, stems and flowers. 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, 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.’


Zuleika Melluish is a London-based ceramic artist. Her work takes direct inspiration from the plants around her, from the Wisteria that covers the outdoors walls of her Kentish Town studio to the perennial garden that she has had the opportunity to create from scratch in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains in Wales. 


Having worked for many years creating hand-built vessels impressed with dried and fresh botanical materials gathered from her own garden, in 2023 Zuleika exhibited for the first time her new series of botanical porcelain sculptures - moving from inscribing clay with the structure of plants to building their forms three dimensionally. Past exhibitions include: Collect, London (2023 & 2024);  Edinburgh Art Fair; 1000 vases, Milan; and ‘Gatherers’ at OmVed Gardens, London.

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