Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Friedrich Welwitsch Figurine

This piece isn't yet fired, or quite finished. He is Friedrich Welwitsch (1806-72), who was an explorer and botanist. He collected thousands of plant and animal specimens in Angola before going to work in the Natural History Museum, London. The plant he is looking at here is called Welwitschia Mirabilisafter him, and it can live for up to 1,500 years!

Friday, 11 May 2012

New Figurine

This is Alfred Russel Wallace, who was a contemporary of Charles Darwin, and independently from Darwin proposed his own theory of evolution and natural selection, which prompted Darwin to get on and publish his. He'll hopefully be part of my collection of collectors in my show, if he makes it through the firings!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dinosaur Dishes

These are my large Icthyosaur and Plesiosaur dishes, slip and stain, with sponging and scraffitto, made in 'studio white earthenware'. I made them after spending lots of time looking at 1950's textile designs like these...

The plate below is a dish I made to illustrate the spirit collection at the Natural History Museum, with a work in progress shot next to it. You can go on behind the scenes tours of the Darwin Center, and see where the specimens are stored (see NHM link).
  They're all kept in alcohol which preserves their DNA, but is constantly evaporating so has to be topped up continuously, all year round. The staff take it in turns. Specimens can be taken out of their jars and sent off for research. They can survive out of the jars for a couple of days while they're being used. There are massive jars jammed full of monkeys and snakes, and large tanks to hold the larger animals, like a Shetland pony.

The Giant Squid (Architeuthis) is also kept in the Darwin Wing. Its in a glass tank that was produced by the same people that make the tanks used by Damien Hirst.
I made some dishes to try and capture my personal impressions of the squid.....

These plates are around 45cm wide, but not large enough for what I have in mind for my show.....I've just found out I have over 3 meters to display my work in the final show, so watch this space!