Kate Samuelson

Master of Ceramics

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NB. Views and opinions of students in the degree show are their own and do not represent the views of the University.


The study explores the use of clay to capture moments and memories otherwise lost to the passage of time and decay. The creation and conservation of shapes and textures experienced within natural forms and their preservation.

As any keen walker will have experienced on exposed moorland, the site of Juncus effusus is commonplace. Known as Rush, it is the bane of the hill farmer, readily encroaching and establishing itself on scant grazing land. Its stems are smooth with a thick green waxy coating, filled with a spongy white pith. Walking through it releases a distinctive fresh smell of new growth or decay as the season draws on. Their tapering and delicate straw like structures adapted perfectly to their exposed site experiencing high winds, sunshine and snow.

The uniformed structure lends itself perfectly in creating negative spaces to my pieces.

The finished pieces themselves allow the observer a glimpse of a negative image of what had been. The natural form fixed and conserved with the clay enveloping organic material which would otherwise rot and decay.

Like memories, the pieces are fragile and with that somewhat temporary. However, the delicate nature adds to the interest and complexity of the structure.

The use of clay as a medium to stabilise form enables the ultimate control of shape. In this case, it allows for the study of natural shape to be fixed and conserved rather than decaying. It allows for a moment of life to be captured and survive as a negative form of itself.

For me, the pieces act as mementos or keepsakes of happy times filled with vigour and life; of the fell, the plant and my own gratefulness for adventure.