There is an unprecedented unnatural extinction of many marine species, due mainly to irrational human behaviour and activities. While most of the focus of ecologists is on the larger species, it is the tiny sea creatures, the molluscs, that I wish to focus on. Every species, no matter how small, is special and unique.
As a child I was a shell collector, a gatherer of unusual shapes with intricate patterned and textured surfaces: the discarded homes of tiny sea creatures. One of my most favoured was the cowrie, the glossy shell made by a sea snail. (There are about 200 different species of cowries, and they are endangered.) The discovery of such beauty amidst an expanse of sand, in a rock crevice or beside the water’s edge was always a moment of excitement and joy.
Now I find myself gravitating towards shell type forms as I squeeze and pinch the clay in my hands. What I am making are forms that represent these endangered molluscs, rather than imitations of them. The vessels focus on colour, pattern, texture and often tiny patches of incredible contrasting iridescence or pearl-like beauty. You are being asked to consider the beauty in every species, no matter how small, and to look carefully.