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"A Rock Collection"

August 2015 exhibition in Seventeen, Aberdeen "Cloth & Clay". Alongside tailoress Cordelia Stubbing's exhibition "Farlan," Amy showcases "A Rock Collection."

Inspirations were drawn from two simple sources; natural found objects from specific locations and the processes behind hand made pottery. By displaying these two inspirations together; the collection of rocks and her unique, warped pottery pieces, Amy highlights the direct relationship she sees between the landscape and ceramics as a craft form.

Throughout this exhibition Amy highlights the beauty she sees within her collection of natural forms and also shows the beauty behind the usually hidden mistakes and explorations within hand made pottery.

Clay is a very fluid material which is not dissimilar to the land around us; our surrounding landscapes have moved and grown, and been warped and eroded over time. I find that throwing gives me the freedom to make more natural and fluid forms. I often see beauty within the mistakes of the ceramic process; warping or collapsing, breakages and cracking.

Each collection of found objects are full of the history of the land and movements of the earth. I see endless amounts of beauty and stories within them and now they also hold my own memories of where they were found.

Amy shennan


Rock Slab


When on placement in Northshore Pottery, in Caithness, I did a lot of drawing of the cliff surfaces.  I found it fascinating to see how the cliff face had been erroded away by the weather and small creatures.  I loved the patterns and the random shapes found in the rocks and drawing allowed me to explore them even more closely.


From these drawings I then created this "Rock Slab" which was made using simple carving tools on a rolled out slab of clay.


This was my first entirely sculpture piece of work and I really enjoyed making it.  I hope to make another in the future but in a more three-dimensional form.

The Hare’s Dinner Set


The Idea for the Hare's Dinner Set came to me whilst on a 4X4 driving range where I was surrounded by towering boulders, confronted by steep, muddy and rocky climbs and had to steer the vehicle through deep, dark swamps... I'll admit that the whole thing was very terrifying!  

Until suddenly, I found around a corner the first hare I had ever seen.  This hare was perfectly at ease in this overgrown environment and looked at me as if to say, "What are you doing here?"  He reappeared around many bends and it became a small adventure of follow the hare.

Turning this experience into a dinner set became important to me.  The idea of having to use the pieces of the set to find the hare was interesting, I enjoyed drawing the hare in different poses, trying to capture his mischievous and relaxed nature within the ceramic pieces.



This beautiful rock marked the starting point for this exhibition. 

I found it at the bottom of my parents' garden where a large hole had been dug to improve drainage. It's remarkable the things you can find in your garden!  I carried it back into the house to show off my find to my mum. She agreed that it was very nice but didn't seem to view it with the same intensity as I did, I saw it as a piece of art worthy of a space in the home just like how an oil painting or a sculture is given a space in the home. 

So I decided to create a sculpture out of it, raise it up as if to say, "hey, look at this, this is beautiful! This is art."

Sea Domes


This was a simple study of the effects of glazes over different clays.  I wanted to create the colours of sand, sea and waves to display these washed up volcanic rocks.

Collapsing pot & Iceland


When throwing on the potter's wheel the pots are made by pulling the clay upwards as the wheel spins making the walls of the pot taller and thinner.  For this piece I repeated this process of pulling the walls up until the pot collapsed.  I really enjoyed this way of working as a different and completely unpredictable result was created each time. 

The pebbles in this piece were gathered from a stony beach in Iceland, I love the clear contrasts of blacks and white in the pebbles and their smooth textures.  I particularly enjoy the front piece (seen in the left hand image) which is very sculptural but is in fact a natural form. Muscles latch themselves to rocks in the sea by making very fine threads; this protects them from hazards such as the strong currents.

Aberdeen Beach


The bowl seen in the background of this image was not intentionally split into two pieces.  It came out of it's final firing with a hairline crack because it cooled too fast.  This made it very fragile so when I tapped it, it broke.  But what I thought was really amazing about this mistake was how perfectly the bowl split into two even pieces, it almost looked intentional.


This collection of pebbles, shells and weathered pottery pieces was gathered from the beach in Aberdeen city.  What I love about all these pieces is the symmetry between them; the lines on the shell and the weathered pottery pieces are also seen on the pebbles and in the throwing rings of my bowl.  The colours as well show symmetry; from the oranges of some of the pieces to the blacks and white's of the others.

Rock Collector’s Jars


When I make lidded jars or even teapots I often have a lot of fun making the handles for the lids; they can take on very simple or complex forms from just a lump of clay to a sculpted figurine.


For this exhibition I decided to create lidded jars that included inspirational objects within the final design.  I enjoyed the idea of jars made specifically to hold small rock collections. The pebbles displayed on top of the three jars are the handles for the lids, they are tied on with string so you can swap them around as and when you please. 

“Pebble Dragon” Egg


The idea for the Dragon Egg came to me while on placement in NorthShore Pottery.  Jenny Ross's children, two boys aged 9 and 11, were fascinated and obsessed with dragons!


So, just for a bit of fun we all made our own dragon eggs and created short descriptions for the type of dragon that would hatch from them.  Mine is a "Pebble Dragon" egg which hatches a very small dragon who is a master of camouflage and stealth. 


 I included this piece of work in the exhibition because it reminded me that creating pieces of art, whether that be on paper or out of clay, doesn't need to be overly complicated, it can be just for fun.

Red Pebbles


Seen also in this image is a hand tailored coat by Cordelia Stubbing, part of her "Farlan" collection.


I found these large pebbles on a stony beach in Caithness.  Their strong red colours attracted me, along with their almost egg like shape.  Here I have grouped them together to highlight their similarities and differences.  They are similar in colour and shape but they contrast in their deepness of colour, size and texture.

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