Human Impact; Part 2

Ceramics by Katie Jenssen

Date: Jul 12 – Jul 25Space: Main Gallery

There is no denying that humans are to blame for the decline of the Earth’s environment. Katie Jenssen made the body of ceramic work in this exhibition to delve deeper into the human impact that our planet is facing.

All the pieces in this exhibition are not all of the pieces that were made for this exhibition. There were many casualties along the way. These are the survivors.

The clay has undergone varying pressures to make it to these final surviving pieces; being dug from the ground, pounded with her hands, thrown on the wheel, 800 degree temperatures, sanding, 1270 degree temperatures and finally a third heat wave of 700 degrees to adhere the gold to the clay. If treated well these vessels will make it through the finial firing and last a lifetime, but a slip of the hand could mean the clay will crack and crumble back into the ground. Nothing is ever certain.

Consumerism and capitalism are two of the biggest downfalls of humanity and are massive contributors to the decline of our environment. If we carefully select local handmade pieces to join us for our lifetime and for lifetimes to come rather than consuming badly made, mass produced factory products we will be living more sustainable lives. Thinking carefully about what we consume and how this impacts our environment is just a small part of a larger picture, but without thinking this way our planet will not be able to sustain us for much longer.

Katie wants these pieces to remind the viewer that they have been designed and made by a person, by her. You can see that her hands have worked with the clay, created the curves, the bumps, the imperfections. No moulds were made, there are no replicas. Each vessel is a one off piece of art and she can only make so many pieces in her lifetime. These works will be here long after Katie is gone and therefore great thought and care was taken before making them.

These vessels are from the earth, they are the earth.  Black leaves encompass the vessels just as humans encompass and strangle the Earth. The small pieces of gold represent a glimmer of hope; this hope is only visible through the activists in our community, a minority of people who are working hard to make sure our planet does survive. However In 2019 we are facing a climate emergency that has been a long time coming, and all the scientific statistics point to our imminent death. How will you live the rest of your life and what will you consume in the process?

About Katie:

Katie Jenssen is local ceramic artist who discovered her passion for clay after moving in with her grandmother Ingeborg Jenssen who was a studio potter and painter. Katie has a background in environmental science but is now pursuing her passion for art.

She primarily works on the wheel but also uses moulds made by her nana and grandad and carving techniques from her great-grandfather. She use embroidery thread in some of her works, to honour her great-grandmother and women artisans before her.

Her work is steeped in tradition and family history; incorporating themes of empowerment, feminism and environmentalism.

Join Katie Jenssen and Painter Joshua Weeks to celebrate the opening of their joint exhibition ‘Human Impact’ on Friday 12 July, 5-7pm. All welcome!

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