Thursday, October 24, 2013

Seeds of Inspiration



http://www.angielewin.co.uk
I am currently at the mercy of two major infatuations which are gradually becoming intertwined - an intense and deepening devotion to all things clay and a love of botanical life in its seed dispersal phase. The image above is by one of my favourite artists, engraver and illustrator Angie Lewin who uses plants and their habitats as inspiration for her designs.

In my last post I unveiled my first pieces of ceramic work and as I've continued working with clay I've come to realise that it can be an incredibly relaxing and therapeutic medium to work in particularly when used sculpturally. In theory metal clay can be used this way but it doesn't have the plasticity of ceramic clay and dries out very quickly...not to mention the fact that it's expensive and the finished pieces would be very heavy. Rather than just transfer my bronze clay work straight into ceramic I wanted to try and develop some new ideas and this extra time is enabling me to do just that.

So were does the botanical element come in..? Well since I have no previous experience or expertise in sculpting or modelling I was looking for something fairly simple to start with and turned to one of my favourite forms - the seed pods of the Physalis or Chinese lantern...

Physalis
These have a beautiful, slightly ethereal equality so I thought I'd try and recreate one as a pendant. Mine morphed slightly into a Physalis/pumpkin hybrid but I like it never-the-less and just loved the process involved in the making.



Well this one sold and I had custom order so earlier this week I set about making another. This one hasn't been fired yet and as you can see it's developed a bit of a sexier shape...



Putting this aside to dry I started to think about how I could develop this further and began playing with a piece of clay - elongating the form and then adding some decoration...


I really like it - It has a lovely tactile feel and I'm really excited to see how It will be transformed with different glazes.


Now my head is bursting with ideas for a series of botanically inspired pieces so off I went to do a little online research and gather up some suitable specimens. And heavens, there are just so many beautiful things out there to choose from - mother nature really is the best when it comes to designing for form and function isn't she....

Sarracenia
Does this next one remind you of anything...?

Abrus
Lotus
Milkweed
I had a go at one more yesterday - a  bit more delicate in design and probably better suited to a stronger clay but it's all good practice...



So I hope you like this little insight into my inspiration - somehow I think there will be a few of these designs germinating pretty quickly so I hope you like them! If you know of any plants with interesting seed heads or pods do let me know.

Lesley

27 comments :

  1. Oh wow Lesley! Love what your doing with "Mud" hehe! Look forward to seeing more of what you develop!

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  2. Great read Lesley! Loving watching where you're going in your new adventure!

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  3. Awesome! The Abrus reminds me of Snow Lion images!

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  4. Lesley, you need to have a look at some of the Australian seed pods, gumnuts (from Eucalyptus species) come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and Banksias also have intriguing shapes.

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    1. Thanks Melissa - I'll look into those.

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  5. Your seed pods are lovely! I just became acquainted with Angie Lewin's book at a Surface Design Guild meeting. I love her work! I've been making some little bellflower thingies, but they're not nearly as nice as what you're doing! Here's another book you might be interested in: http://www.amazon.com/Forms-Nature-Dover-Pictorial-Archive/dp/0486229874/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382612902&sr=1-2&keywords=art+forms+in+nature

    Carrie Boucher of Pink Crow Studios uses this as an inspiration for some of her sterling pierced pendants.

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  6. Gorgeous Lesley!! I love seed pods and for similar reasons added polymer clay to my repertoire. I love metal clay but a clay that doesn't dry and is much lighter and less expensive sure does open up the possibilities!

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  7. I think I just died looking at your seeds! What an amazing inspiration!!!!!

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  8. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Welcome to the world of ceramic clay Lesley. You are making wonderful pieces!!!

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  9. Love your new seed pods! Can't wait to see the second one finished! Polymer would be fun for this as well!

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  10. OMG! Miss Lesley! You continue to amaze and inspire me. I am a HUGE fan of Angie Lewin's work. I stumbled on that book last spring and bought a copy for myself and my best friend Heather. I want to be inspired by that work to enhance my own polymer clay work. I just haven't had the time. I want to get back to it seeing your experiments. I need more hours in my day! Thank you for reminding me that I have a fantastic resource on my shelf. I love your pods! Can't wait to see where that takes you! Enjoy the day. Erin

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  11. Very interesting and beautiful. I can't wait to see more!

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  12. Love the post Lesley, very inspiring. I've just bought a couple of greetings cards by Angie Lewin, it's such lovely work. Your clay work is beautiful, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you got some serious talent going on there. Claire xxx

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  13. This guy gets my vote for weirdness:

    http://mattfl2.deviantart.com/art/Magnolia-Seed-Pod-66767617

    Love your designs, Lesley, and am getting a kick out of all the crossover skills happenin' here!

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    1. Wow - that's not going t go unoticed is it...thanks Monique...!

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  14. All are fun but I adore the last I think it would make the most awesome bead cap!! I can imagine an entire bracelet filled with them - so very fairy like. Well done!

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  15. Hi Lesley,
    I am enjoying reading all the post about your new clay adventure. I am loving the seed pods and the last one is very pretty in it's unfinished state I can not wait to see what it looks when you glaze it.
    I am not that into botanicals, but I think the poppy seed pod is pretty interesting.
    Therese

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  16. These are simply lovely - all of them. You have an amazing gift of interpretation and your detail is impeccable. Can't wait to see how you design with them. Kudos to you!

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  17. Splendid, uplifting post!

    Susan, LadyFlowersbySusan

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  18. Your pods are so beautiful, I work with polymer clay rather than ceramic. I hope you share when these are finished I would love to see them!

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  19. OMG Lesley, these are spectacular!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Great post on inspiration and beautiful work.

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  21. Loved seeing your beautiful seed pod creations and reading about how you were inspired. I love seed pods. I'm always on the lookout for new ones and almost every surface in my home has one sitting on it. Beautiful gifts from Mother Nature!

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  22. I love your pods! I am a pod fan, and have several bowls that are variations on pods, but I don't really have room for more of those. Now pod beads, that's another story...

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  23. Awesome...and I was going to suggest magnolia seed pods...they all look different as the go through each stage...I have two trees in my yard. Way to go and keep us posted!

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  24. These are amazing Leslie! I too am a huge Angie Lewin fan. I was gifted her book early this year and it sits right on the side table for whenever I need a dose of inspiration! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your nature studies in beads.

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