In Our Gallery with Lesley Perk

Experimenting with different effects on clay objects led to Lesley Perk's latest art creation, Smoke and Tears, now on display in the Here + Now exhibition.

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Tell us about your artwork displayed by Bundaberg Regional Galleries as part of the Here + Now exhibition?

Smoke and Tears is made up of two hand-built clay items.

A pot 20 centimetres tall and a ball 10 centimetres in diameter, made from raku clay and fired in a kiln packed with sawdust.

I was experimenting with different effects that could be made on the clay objects as they were fired in slow burning sawdust.

I had placed gum leaves next to the pot before packing the sawdust around it and a chemical solution was dribbled over the ball.

What was the inspiration behind this piece?

After the firing process, I saw the blackened patches and the smoky image of the leaves on the pot, I quickly made the connection to the grief and destruction often experienced during bushfires.

It was not intentional at first, but there was no doubt when the ball appeared with marks like falling tears.

It was a surprise outcome with a poignant meaning.

What medium was used and how does this reflect your usual practice?

Raku clay was used for this work.

Working with clay began a few years ago after joining the Childers Visual Arts Group.

Previously I concentrated on painting and drawing.

I found the shaping and manipulation of the clay was a different but equally satisfying way of creating art, with the added third dimension.

What advice would you give to others who are just beginning to explore art?

Never think that you are not good enough.

Everybody is an artist. If you have the passion, do it.

Your skills will grow over time.

Previous In Our Gallery: Robert Andrews