- Elizabeth macdowell – The rediscovery of Macdowell’s work inspired me to re-visit the theme of humans and nature and the important ways we are connected. Macdowell produces the most delicate and detailed porcelain pieces, featuring human limbs, such as feet, entwined with plants, to comment on environmental issues such as climate change. This helped me refocus and invigorated me to carry out detailed observational sketches of branches and then hands. From the details I captured on paper, I then progressed on to developing my sculpting techniques in clay, to create a range of pieces, combining human features with nature. I wanted to develop the theme of our symbiotic relationship with nature and how we need to be as one with nature, in order to survive. This led me on to think, that more often than not, our relationship with nature is more one of competition and is at times parasitic. This further inspired me to create fungi type growths, in an attempt to capture the dichotomy of our relationship with nature. Macdowell’s depiction of limbs has certainly impacted on my current work and has inspired me to practise and extend my observational drawing skills.
- Gundi dietz – When I came across Dietz’s work I was inspired by her stylised take on the figurative form and wanted to incorporate her dramatic use of harsh, scratched in lines and her bright vibrant colours, into my own practice. At this point I was creating my prosthetic foot piece and decided to make scratchy simple marks in the clay to simulate shape and to define features. I feel that this is something I would like to involve permanently in my own style as it helps accentuate detail, producing more realistic results.
- Kathy ruttenberg – I was enchanted by the intricate detail and beauty of Ruttenberg’s work and I feel that this played a part in the creation of my Earth Grub. She has been able to combine humanity and nature together to create new entities which are breathtakingly delicate , yet strikingly bold in colour. My study of her work has encouraged me to include more detail and finesse in my work, which has encouraged me to embellish and adorn my Grub with plants and buds.
- Aganetha dyck – Dyck’s work demonstrates to me how it is possible to make a sculpture become an environmental piece of art in a truly creative and innovative way. Her ‘collaborative’ work with bees, producing the most astonishing honeycomb creations, both celebrate the wonders of nature whilst directing us to consider the significant role of bees in our world. I had already started to view the bee as a symbol of why we need to protect nature. Dyck has further fuelled my interest in bees so much so that after further research I will consider how I can further incorporate them as a visual image in my work.
- Ishibashi Yui – Yui’s work showed me the human form entwined with nature in an intriguing way. Her work could be seen as dark and disturbing as the pale off-white figures appear defenceless and vulnerable as they are overtaken by roots and shoots. Her work has inspired me to consider my Grub, positioned alone and unclothed with plant life emerging from its body. The introduction to her work has had a significant impact on my own composition and has encouraged me to experiment with new concepts as a means of emphasising our close, but at times, strained and fragile connection with nature.