I visited the lovely Logan Art gallery for the first time last week. Upon entering the primary coloured building, one steps foot in to a gift shop showcasing the work of local artisans, before heading left or right, to peruse the varying spaces hung with canvas and board. Toward the back of the gallery was a lovely space housing a ceramic exhibition, to which I was of course drawn. Those who have been reading for awhile will know I have a growing collection of handmade contemporary Australian pottery. Here I discovered the beautiful work of the Northern Rivers based artist and designer, Anna-Marie Wallace, and was introduced to the saggar firing process which makes all of her pieces so unique.
"Each piece, each object, whether large or small, be it either functional or simply beautiful in its form, imparts a sense of connection with the earth when it is held in the observer’s hand. Works of art in clay are tangible, tactile & so somehow often more engaging than two dimensional works. It is almost impossible not to gravitate toward a beautifully sculpted vessel & caress it, feel the satisfying mass of it, the refreshing coolness of it & appreciate its unyielding form as a solid, all the while aware that it was once a shapeless, malleable & indistinct morsel of earth & water & that through the careful manipulation of a skilled hand this small piece of our planet now has form, purpose even; not only is it beautiful, but in the case of a vessel or adornment, it is also useful & practical…”
Don't you just want to pick up these cups and feel them in your hands?
I love Anna-Marie's words above, and I did indeed want to touch her work. To weigh it in my hands, navigate the textures of each piece and examine the patterns that spill across the surfaces. I restrained myself and resorted to taking photos to share with you instead. But I bet there have been many that couldn't resist gently running a finger tip across one of these pieces when the gallery staff weren't looking!
And oh, the nature table of found and foraged treasures above presented the same tactile allure. Feather, shell, drift wood, seeds. Just the things we were collecting on our beach holiday the week before, and to which my inner magpie is drawn.
The exhibition closes on the 16th of January, so if you are in the area, pop in and try to resist touching the pieces. Or else you can see and purchase more of Anna-Marie's work on her website.