Ghost Gums

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Elizabeth Davies

Ghost Gums


These vases were inspired by my discovery, in eastern Australia, of the beautiful gum trees that shed their brown bark revealing a white trunk. In these vases, I leave the white surface grainy and bare and use dark underglazes for the bark at their base with matte glazes for the burnt traces of forest fires, ashes and new growth.
Stoneware, fired to cone 6, in oxidation. Wheel thrown and assembled.
 Height: 25 cm; 33 cm; 35 cm
Diameter, at base: 7 cm, 7 cm, 8 cm
Weight: 1 kg; 1.2 kg; 1.4 kg

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Artist's Statement

I create ceramics whose elegant shapes serve as a canvas for abstract surface design.
I seek to push the transformative limits of clay by often intentionally distorting the symmetry of my thrown pieces to create an undulating wave. I add more depth and movement by layering contrasting glazes onto the surface. As the glazes flow and meld in the heat of the kiln, my designs take form, reminiscent of the ever-shifting shorelines where the land meets the sea, the play of light on the surface of the water or the creatures that live in the darkness beneath.
Some of my most recent work is inspired by trees, especially by their outer layer of protective bark, and employs the new techniques (new to me at least) of making moulds and handbuilding pieces. I try to capture the lively irregular shapes of living wood and the rough, textured surfaces that nature creates. As with my other work, my intention is always to intrigue and to have the viewer feel the urge to reach out, touch and hold.
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Photos by Rajeev Nath
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