Artists Statement

Heather Wilson

All of my work is hand built and explores animal forms in various ways. Animals have always fascinated me and have been a part of my work for the last 30 years. Whether appearing as dragons, exotic birds or bones, most of my images have a basis in nature. Sometimes it is just a characteristic or a quirky gesture that will inspire a piece, sometimes a photograph or a drawing done at the zoo or museum.

Dragons have always given me the freedom to explore an emotion or attitude without the restrictions of a form being right, no one can tell you what a dragon should be like as they are an imaginary beast.

All of my work is hand built from earthenware or porcelain. Each of them is unique and they may be similar but no two are ever the same. Most of my vessels are coil built and the dragons and birds are constructed on their bases. The pieces are fired to 1080 C in a gas kiln.

The large terracotta pots are designed for balconies and to hold plants. The butterfly images are drawn on the outside and coloured with oxides. Some are glazed on the inside so a potted plant can be placed in them and easily removed.

My exhibition ’ New Directions’ at Bulleen Art and Garden in 2012 began the work I am currently developing using Raku firing to decorate fish sculptures that are designed for garden installations. The work I am doing pushes technical boundaries through the size of the pieces and the exploration of body stains with naked raku. I am creating schools of fish that swim through plants supported on steel poles.

The work is fired to earthenware temperatures in a gas kiln or in a Raku bin kiln. Naked Raku has no glaze surface as the glaze is used as a mask to prevent smoke reaching the clay surface and is prevented from sticking by a layer of slip. Pieces are removed from a hot kiln and placed in a bin of paper which burns creating the smoke that turns all exposed surfaces black. As the piece is cooled rapidly the mask peels off leaving the clay naked below and the smoke pattern embedded in the surface. The pieces are then treated with a water proofing paint used for sealing ponds.

Heather Wilson Ceramics