How to hold, how to carry, how to care

Robyn Phelan
36cm (W) x 60cm (H) x 22cm (D)A range of hand-formed clays, terra sigillata, ceramic stains, hand-woven t-shirt, tea towel & pillow case

How to hold, how to carry, and how to care, was made during the 2020 lockdown using make-do textiles and clay material to hand.  

For this sculptural work, clay is compressed, gently urging the plastic material into a figurative ‘tree-like’ form. Likewise, basket’ forms have indexical marks of both the process of making and are true to the maker's touch. Terra sigillata, an ancient ceramic technique imbues a soft, ‘skin-like’ finish to the ceramic surface.  Ragbag textiles, well-loved and worn out by the artist’s family have been shredded, stitched, and woven into a new garment that caresses and protects.  The artist acknowledges the Maparu Arnhem Weavers and the Djanpi Desert Weavers for their developing skills in fibre and fabric weaving.  

This work is intimately associated with growth and the maternal experience. It references female, collaborative experiences and reminds us of our human connection to trees and nature.