Ceramic flower by Astrid Dahl
Captivated by the exquisite clay vessels of Astrid Dahl, an artist living here in KwaZulu Natal, I began noticing work by other artists who are also inspired by organic plant forms. Each artist I discovered creates unique clay pieces so beautiful that I just sit and look in wonder.
Astrid's extraordinary plant forms took off after Neville Trickett (of Saint Verde fame) stumbled upon her work. He showed her a collection of photographs of magnified flowers, buds and seed pods by botanist Karl Blossfeldt which inspired pieces like the vessel above. The rest is history. One can now find Astrid's work in Liberty of London and Amaridian, New York
Ceramic Plant Forms by Astrid Dahl. (Photo montage from 2Modern DESIGN TALK)
Memories by Betsy Nield
Another artist from South Africa, Betsy Nield who's "porcelain boxes represent the re-used boxes stashed into the back of a dark cupboard, containing our cherished mementos, and they have no colour because it is dark a cupboard. The platters symbolise a vessel containing our memories such as the brain. And of course the leaves are our dreams and memories themselves; cherished and stored away or on display; some whole and strong, some fragile and broken."
Plate with Leaves by Betsy Nield
Pods by Alice Ballard
Alice Ballard's textured pods had my fingers dancing to touch each one. Aren't they wonderful?
"My art is a reflection of my relationship with natural forms. These forms come to me on walks, while I work in my garden, on visits to the produce section of the grocery store or, appear as gifts from friends who share my fascination with beauty inherent in Nature's abundant variety of forms. To be more specific, it is often the metamorphosis of Nature's forms, as they change from season to season, that attracts me. I am endlessly drawn to that universal world in which differing life forms share similar qualities. Tulip bulbs and the human form for example share many of the same sensual qualities. I spend countless hours contemplating a particular form in order to feel its energy. It becomes a Zen-like connection not unlike a mediation. Next I will begin to draw the form, trying to capture the essence of what I have felt and observed. Then I begin to bring this form to life in clay. As an artist, I hope that those who choose to connect with my work can share some of the harmony and tranquility I feel through the creative process. Perhaps, at the very least, the viewer will give those small, often unnoticed forms in Nature, a second glance." - Alice Ballard
Pods by Alice Ballard
"The grand magnolia trees are just one example of a neighbourhood subject I use often in my work. I collect all parts of this magnificent tree from the leaves to the flowers, petals, pods, the branches, the protective petals around the flower buds, etc. My own garden also offers constant inspiration for my work. Fabulous forms reveal themselves every season. The first hostas begin to push through dark soil as an early reminder of spring. This is followed by a full array of buds, flowers, leaves, branches and pods. My neighbourhood and garden never disappoint me when it comes to the inspiration they constantly offer."
Various small pieces by Alice Ballard