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Parian paper clay on driftwood

H. 9 x w. 38 x d. 9 cm


"The marram grass is a native plant that is integral to binding the Dunescape together by its deep root system. Stabilising these fragile habitats to encourage the colonisation of costal plants and mammals.



About Joanna Terry

Joanna Terry is a ceramicist working in Parian Porcelain in rural East Sussex. Joanna’s work is her visceral reaction to natures continuous renewal.  Observed through her daily walking in woods and  nature reserves, it is a mediative experience that connects her directly with the earth. 


This daily ritual is often the starting point of each new collection, gathering found pieces of wood or stones, noting the changes to the season.  Preferring to cast clay direct in the landscape, helping to minimise her impact on these often fragile landscapes.  Casting bark, grasses and native plants, sometimes only revealed at low tides, her soft imprints give a pure impression of the landscape. Taken back to the studio, these castings are used to make delicately textured vessels that reference the seasonal shift and rich bio diversity of this beautiful county. These fragile forms are fired free of setters to encourage the natural twist and turn in the high firing process.  Seeing the fragility of each piece, balanced lightly on found wood, references ones own vulnerability and the need to be centred. 


Through her process of making and with the addition of light, Joanna hopes to bring the native beauty of these moments in fragile lands into each piece she creates.


Artist Q&A

What has been your biggest achievement in your work so far?

J: Having only graduated in 2019 I was so pleased to have my sculptural installation “ Dunescape” accepted for The Royal Society of marine Artist 2022 show at The Mall Galleries. The work was a grouping of my parian paper clay vessels incised with marram grass from the Sand Dunes of camber sands near my hometown of Rye, East Sussex. The piece had a large plinth all to itself in the main gallery space and the unglazed vessels sat on a large piece of driftwood found on the beach.  Sitting among the RSMA member artist was so inspiring and encouraged me to continue my practise of site responsive work.


What first drew you to the process of casting on site?

J: I have always been fascinated by the textures found in nature, particularly wild plants and grasses. However I had always picked them, bringing plants back to the studio and placing, orderly onto the clay to be incised.  My husband is a landscape oil painter, painting predominantly ‘en plein air”. He explained to me how painting outside emersed him in the changing landscape using all his senses to inform his painting.  So, I thought why not try taking my clay outside and casting direct in the landscape?  It was a revelation, the castings were true representations of the plants and their surroundings. The imprints random, with the odd blade of grass or other plants getting sandwiched between my clay and rolling pin! Feeling the wind/sun on my skin and hearing the birds and trees around me connect me to that place, casting a little moment in time, noting the seasonal change to my environment. 


Tell us more about this recent series?

J:  I live near to the coast in Rye, I love to walk along the Rye harbour nature reserve that leads onto Camber Sands. It is a very special landscape rich in marine plants and birds. The salt marshes are found either side of the sea entrance to the harbour. They are a natural buffer from the high tides that regularly cover these low-lying beds. With climate change the tides rise 4mm a year and the seapurslane plant has adapted to this environment and flourishes in the salt rich land. Casting these plants in “down by the harbour edge” I wanted to show the fragility of our marine environments and the beauty of these coastal low living plants. Framed in a re purposed 'discarded window’ frame, sharing the importance of re-use, re-cycle to help tackle this climate emergency.


The dunes grass nests sit on pieces of found driftwood that regularly come onto the beach following a high tide. The delicate parian paperclay nests balance lightly on the found wood.  Incised with the dune grasses cast in the hot sand dunes on a bright summers day.  The Marram grass grows in abundance in these costal DuneScapes. It is integral to binding the sand dunes together. Stabilising these fragile habitats to create habitats for costal plants and mammals. 

Dune Grass Duo | H. 9 cm | By Joanna Terry

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