The Soil Can Remember
My work celebrates and uses clay in its unfired form as a medium, recognizing and respecting its existence ‘as an environmental body, implying a living entity that perhaps at some level has the capacity to remember or subjectively experience its own past.’ Alexandra Toland from the book Soil to Palette.
The process starts off with daily abstract drawings of objects that inhabit my ‘outer world’.I use self-made natural pigments from the earth around me to capture these objects which can range from the mundane utilitarian object to exquisite jewellery that formed part of my wedding trousseau. The language I use to capture them on paper is a language of abstraction, my way of seeing them and recognizing the beauty and perfection which I see in each one of them irrespective of what they are.
The drawings then get transformed to sculptural vessels using unfired clay. The unfired clay serves as a medium to level these objects, taking away the undue importance given to the object by materialism and stripping each one away of the hierarchy, form and status bestowed upon it by society. And thereby levelling them all in the eyes of the beholder allowing the awareness of the existence of beauty and happiness which can occur without materialistic stimulation. These unfired sculptural vessels will eventually disintegrate, merging with the very earth which both the clay and the objects came from. Taking with them all the stories and memories these objects and the clay hold, marking the ability of clay when unfired to have infinite potential and its capacity to serve a medium that has memory. And in doing so, the clay allows us to be shaped by it rather than it be shaped by us!