Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ceramic Might-Have-Beens

British ceramicist Sophie Woodrow knows that the Victorian fascination with nature (though it was firmly defined as 'other' than human), collecting and romanticizing nature in a way which was ultimately kitsch is a great place to seek ideas and inspiration. Though most Victorian science was of the 'descriptive' sort, I know I find their romantic and sometimes heroic collecting an inspiration myself; it is definitely a class of activity at the fertile intersection of art and science, like the building of wunderkammers (Cabinets of Curiosity), gathering everything from rocks, to ferns, to fossils, to exotic animal species from around the world. I love how she describes the Victorian "enormous misinterpretations of geological evidence" (particularly of biological evolution) as "a game of Chinese whispers1 played over millennia". She's been inspired by natural history, and our changing ideas about evolution, to create a growing collection of ceramic "might-have-beens". This makes me think of the Rhinogrades, the wonderous "might-have-evolved" creatures of Harald Stümpke [Gerolf Steiner]. Her imaginary-animal pots are likewise truly wonderful.

Bear (41 cm height)

Totem (39 cm height)

 Little Owl

 Crowd Scene

Here she speaks about her process:

 Be sure to check out both her recent work and archive!

Lou Lou & Oscar

 1 "Chinese whispers" is the British name for what North Americans call the game of "broken telephone" where a message passed by whispers from person to person, mutating as it travels along.

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