top of page

Notes on Gatherers, OmVed Gardens, May 2020

When I was asked to contribute to Gatherers, an exhibition around ideas of foraging to be installed at the OmVed gardens and later at the Thrown gallery, a vision of what I wanted to create came to me immediately. Collaborating with new floral design studio, Metafleur, on the central stage of the converted greenhouses at OmVed, I would make a collection to represent a wild garden in which pieces could stand alone and, at the same time, gather together to form a cohesive whole. 


Initial sketch for Gatherers installation on the central stage at OmVed, November 2019

Metafleur will blend my wild ceramic garden with the garden setting of OmVed by creating an organic backdrop of cut foliage and woody perennials, interwoven with wild flowers and seed heads which were used in the making of the botanical impressions on my ceramics. To be arranged in front of these screens, I have made a collection that seeks to describe plants in both their physical form and pictorially whether viewed individually or grouped together. 
First stage of installation: My pieces arranged against Metafleur screens, May 2020

From my straight-sided cylinder vases, I have developed more organic vase forms that taper or flare to mimic the differing habits of taller perennial plants. These will be interspersed with pod pots, round and short, to represent lower planting and also reference in their shape some of the dried seed pods I’ve gathered to use on the surfaces of my pieces. 


While the hard, ceramic surface does not initially seem an intuitive medium for describing the softness and vitality of flowers and foliage, when the clay’s surface is impressed with real plants, it takes on and then preserves their extraordinary complexity and liveliness. So using white earthenware and stoneware clay, my pieces are impressed with dried and fresh botanical materials gathered from my garden in Wales. The impressions are coloured with blue oxides and underglazes to unify the differing forms and clays and finished with a transparent glaze. 

Metafleur will re-purpose these materials and suspend them - clay covered and crushed - from the organic backdrop so that the physical flowers and seed heads viewed in my garden of ceramics are blended in, revealing the processes of the ceramicist within the floral installation. 

As well as the vertical presence of the vases, the tree canopy will be represented with 100 hanging botanical tiles. These will cascade down the Metafleur screens, which will be arranged in places to give glimpses of the OmVed foliage beyond. The tiles are pressed with leaves and gathered dried plants to connect the canopy above with the pieces below and are impressed on both sides so, like living flowers and foliage, they do not lose their imagery as they rotate. The ceramic pebbles are a whimsical element, and add a grounded contrast to the hanging tiles above. Some of the vases and stones are pierced so that Metafleur’s floral arrangements can sprout out of the pieces extending them organically. 

The resulting installation should subvert the innately static nature of my solid ceramics to suggest the essence of a wild garden. Like the woven foliage drifting and straying over the Metafleur screens, so my botanical impressions meander across their three-dimensional surfaces. Each element and piece invites observation from different viewpoints while working as a gathered whole, just as you would encounter the detail and movement of individual plants as you walk through an unruly, wild garden. 

Finished installation with Metafleur floral designs
bottom of page