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The Artist

image Ceramic artist Jane McCulla's fascination with clay, and its ecological and archaeological connotations, is evident in the power of her sculptural work. Influenced by the great Land Artists and her own experience of remote landscapes and seascapes. Jane's ceramic forms reflect her sensitive exploration of mankind's mark on the landscape and his vulnerability to the whim of nature. Physical traces communicate man's presence, but ultimately earthly cycles prevail. 'I feel overwhelmed by the beauty, scale and miraculous intricacies of nature', says Jane.

Jane's Education

2003-2006 University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1st Class B.A. Hons Fine and Applied Art.

2001-2003 NDAI, Bangor, Northern Ireland.
Art Foundation Diploma. Distinction.

1998-2001 NDAI, Bangor, Northern Ireland.
C&G Ceramics, Level 1 & 2. Distinction.

The Ceramics

image When she graduated from the University of Ulster with a first class BA Honours degree in Fine and Applied Arts, these concepts informed the ceramics series created for her degree show, Rhythmic Traces. The working process Jane developed to make these large scale works requires great care and patience. Layering grogged and coloured clay, she throws it on a large plaster batt to achieve stretched and fluid textures, mimicking the fluid movement found in the earth's cycles and processes. Placed in a clay cradle, each piece dries extremely slowly before a biscuit firing, textural detail is encouraged by applying and rubbing off multiple glazes, and glass is placed to run during the final firing.

The Firing Style

image Originally influenced by the Japanese Bizen technique, Jane visited the Bizen region in Japan, after developing her own firing style, using clam shells as buffers between stacked ceramic forms wrapped in salt soaked straw. Small thumb pots were strategically placed during gas reduction firing to produce beautifully rich serendipitous surfaces. Currently Jane fires her ceramic pieces in an electric top loader kiln. Working with multiple textures on her individual vessel forms, constructed from richly grogged clays, she employs clay slips, matt and gloss glazes to enhance the surfaces. She often leaves glimpses of unglazed clay as a reminder that the vessels are made from clay, the most fundamental stuff of the earth!

The Location

image Practising Ceramic Artist Jane McCulla makes both unique and limited edition ceramic pieces at her studio on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, since she immigrated from Northern Ireland in 2009. She markets and sells her individual ceramic pieces through galleries, local retail outlets and craft fairs. She performs workshops and also undertakes commission work.

"I feel overwhelmed by the beauty, scale and the miraculous intricacies of Nature. Experiencing rural or remote landscapes and seascapes, I am fascinated by momentary glimpses, indexical traces, entropy processes and archaeological references, communicating man's presence and time. The latter and the cycles, rhythms and routines of life lead me to manipulate clay, earth's primary material, with celebratory essence to relate a personal dialogue with my environment." - Jane McCulla


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