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Around About: New Work by Kate Fitzharris


Thu 26 Jun 2008–Wed 16 Jul 2008, 10:00am–5:30pm

Where: Masterworks Gallery, 77 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Masterworks

Ceramic artist Kate Fitzharris has become well-known for her dolls; endearing little creatures that appear as well-loved antiques from the moment of their creation.

These works, with ceramic hands, heads and feet but soft, grain-filled bodies, bring to mind the traditional toys we might expect our grandmothers to have cherished as children.

Fitzharris creates the ceramic elements of her dolls from scratch but forms their bodies from ‘found’ materials, recalling traditional doll-making techniques where scraps of leftover fabric could be transformed from sewing room detritus into a child’s beloved toy.

‘My work is very much inspired by my environment, of my experiences of living in this diverse world, exploring people’s relationships with other animals.

My starting point is always clay, but I often incorporate found materials. This allows me some sort of intimacy with the pieces, where they speak of their history of place. A real connection to place, landscape and community.

My work stimulates feelings; of wildness, and domesticity, nostalgia. A sense of something almost articulated, nearly, and yet, not quite. I want my work to speak to the body of the person looking at or holding it, reminding them of the physicality of this world, to touch them.

Some of the first things made from clay were human figures representing gods or goddesses. Tangible objects imbued with ancient stories, to be revered. Later, similar, even if simpler, figures were made as playthings, for children to practice roles they would take up in their later lives as adults. For example a girl may have a baby doll to prepare her for future motherhood.

My dolls are both playthings and sacred objects, they have soft bodies that contrast to the hard clay extremities of the face, hands and feet, this accentuates the sensations when handling them, reminding the holder of their own body.

'There are a few other differences that I am playing on with them;
The clean, inside, refined feeling of hand stitched material
And the dirty, outside, raw feeling of clay
These differences are there to remind us of the complexities of this world.’

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