100 Beetles 100 Days
On 1st January 2022 I began a project to make 100 beetle sculptures in 100 days.
I chose to work in porcelain to mirror the fragility of our ecosystems, which we must handle with as much reverence and care as a fine porcelain vase, preciously handed down generation to generation.
People from around the world were invited to participate by sending images of their local surroundings to inspire my daily creations. With others providing the source material, I quickly found myself producing designs that I would never have thought of. Forcing me out of my comfort zone and giving my brain a good workout!
Using a 4-part mould, I slipcast a beetle form each day to provide a blank canvas for the texture, pattern, or structure I chose to explore. I also took the opportunity to experiment with colour at all 3 stages of production:
Stains and oxides blended with porcelain (plastic and liquid states) or applied directly to the surface through spraying or brushing.
Biscuit (after 1st firing)
Glazes, oxides and stains — dipping, brushing and spraying.
High fired (after final firing)
Enamel colours and metalwork additions.
Whilst the project has certainly challenged my making skills, I hope it will encourage others to explore their local area in a new way; noticing how the resident insects fit their specific habitats, and gain a greater appreciation of these extraordinary creatures.
Insects have evolved to all habitats imaginable, representing more than half of all known organisms on earth. The diversity of their forms, patterns and appendages are breath taking, and, for an artist, incredibly inspirational. These tiny life forms are also vital to the health of ecosystems globally. Insects often go unnoticed, but they are the cogs that make our world run smoothly. Start removing parts of the mechanism and it will soon stop ticking.
We are now living in the Anthropocene era, in which humans are directly affecting the natural world. These fictional beetles, evolving from their surroundings, create the space for us to think about our world in a different way. By imagining a future, we are also able to question our current place in time and the path that we are on.