Shetland Flora is a new body of work by architectural ceramist Kay Aplin. It builds on work created for her exhibition In A Shetland Landscape at Shetland Museum & Archives in 2016, a ceramic and sound collaboration with Joseph Young.
During a residency in Shetland in summer 2015, Kay and Joseph explored the islands, documenting the sights and sounds of the Shetland landscape. Inspired by its bleak beauty, Kay drew her inspiration from the plentiful micro-flora blooming on the islands at that time of year. Every day, walking the landscape, she collected specimens she found growing underfoot, looking out for tiny plants containing interesting forms and patterns that could be translated into clay.
Kay used a digital microscope to capture the initial images, magnifying them to larger-than-life scale; to enter inside the structure of the plant and to see what the human eye cannot see. From these observations, she created prototypes in clay, and then created multiples by slip-casting porcelain coloured with a range of slips and glazes developed to reflect the colour palette of the plants.
Kay subsequently spent two years creating a new series of woodfired roundels of her Shetland flora designs, created in residence at Wood Firing Symposia in Kohila, Estonia and Guldagergaard, Denmark. Presented here for the first time, Kay is delighted to show her new work arranged in roundels and individually mounted on the clay slabs they were fired on in the wood kilns.
Woodfired glazed porcelain