Along with the clearly functional garden works like fountains and planters, 2017’s Germinate developed the seed metaphor of sprouting and growing. This exhibition consolidated Hearth as the centre of my creative practise and as a vibrant exhibition space integrated within my home garden and studio.
The concept of the garden being a controlled, enclosed space for the cultivation of plants, animals and states of mind is the perfect setting for art that investigates our role and responsibilities in relation to how we live in the world. I am proud to share my backyard with bees, chickens, rabbits, insects, fish, frogs, marsupial rats, birds, lizards, possums, a dog and plenty of humans. From Courtyard, to Outdoor Gallery, to Studio, to Grape Arbor I invite you to take a journey through my inner garden.
The tree is a favourite symbol of mine. There are a number of tree like forms based on the traditional Mexican Tree of Life/candelabra form. Christmas Tree is encrusted with little figures, leaves and other bits and pieces (found and made). These tree forms are still connected to the mosaic pieces of the last few years in their flatish shapes and adornment with multiple elements; they still speak of the diversity and multiplicity of life.
Occasionally the little figures I make refuse to adorn the tree forms and take on a life of their own. They shoot up as people wearing fur and skins, holding birds and reading books, and dealing with internal struggles- they are the Little Fetishes.
Woven into my personal narrative are the strong influences that came out of my trip to Mexico three years ago and last year’s visit to Barcelona and Granada in Spain – it was only when I took Greenhouse out of the kiln that I realised it was some kind of Gaudian architecturally inspired piece – part artichoke, part apartment.
I immediately launched into Treehouse after finishing The Storyteller, obviously missing the physicality and immediacy of handbuilding. It is a kind of dream plan for my next project which will be a platform up in the massive gumtree which dominates the backyard. This tree which frequently drops branches and gumnuts incredibly loudly on my workshop roof is home to millions of beetles and bugs and flocks of birds. I love and fear it equally.
I spent months creating a giant sugar skull, The Storyteller for HIDDEN, an exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney. It represents a culmination of my interest in mosaic surface (and possibly a big break from it!). With over 3000 tiles and ceramic pieces found, made and altered covering the entire surface (including the bottom) creating this skull involved a bucket of blood, sweat and tears. Pieces made by my grandmother and children, ex students and cherished shards from beloved ceramic pieces all have a place on its skin.
In my workshop you can find teapots, candelabra and cups slipcast under my design label Fetish Designs and you can check out some of the work people have made during drop in sessions at Ceramic Salon.