“My work allows me to reflect on the various places I have been, getting lost in feelings of nostalgia, sentiment and creative flow. This is almost a meditative process necessary for me to truly connect with each form I create.
I often reference elements of the natural and built environments I feel a connection with while exploring new places and cultures. Flora, fauna, architectural structures and details, visual imagery, textures and patterning serve as an endless repertoire of inspiration for design that keeps me connected to the places I have been..”
Beautiful Resilience was originally created for the National Contemporary Craft Exhibition, Can Craft? Craft Can! (August 19- October 29, 2017) as part of the 2017 Canadian Craft Biennial.
The installation is a hanging flora and fauna porcelain garland created from 19 individual flowers. Each flower represents one of hundreds of plants with the capability to cleanse soil and air of toxins, a scientific process known as phytoremediation. These flowers are used as a natural, sustainable and beautiful method for restoring our basic natural resources, a process that is unknown and underutilized by most. The piece celebrates nature’s own ability for resilience and offers a reminder that there are natural ways of remediation for environmental damage.
Making this piece challenged Shirran in many ways. With it she veered toward ceramic sculptural forms, a direction new for her and a departure from the more utilitarian work made in the past. The 5ft. metal armature was designed and made in collaboration with a local metal smith (Ron Coady).
The use of white porcelain represents the desired purity of our air and soil. The lightness and work-ability of the clay is suited to soft slab construction and sculpture. Shirran used a clear glaze for the final flower pieces to increase durability of the fragile forms. The metal armature was torched to create a contrasting weathered surface.
Upon completing her BA in English Drama and History at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Wendy Shirran moved to Halifax Nova Scotia to attend NSCADU where she discovered her connection with clay. Since graduating with a BEd Art Specialist degree in 2003, Wendy has spent most of her time teaching the fundamentals of ceramics and creating one-of-a kind pieces for exhibition both nationally and international. She feels it is important to continuously refine and develop new ways of working through exploring unfamiliar places. Travelling to faraway lands for residencies and professional development such as India, Italy and Asia has provided ample inspiration for her ceramic forms and surfaces. After living away from Newfoundland for over 12 years, she now lives in St. John’s, NL and is the Clay Studio Coordinator at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.