Susan O'Byrne has a wonderful wall of creatures, on exhibition as part of the annual VAS 'FLY16' show at the Royal Academy in Edinburgh until December the 27th. Susan uses coloured slips to create incredibly patterned pieces of ceramic so that her work often resembles textile sculptures or patchworks.
Our childhoods are filled with animal images, their many names, shapes, colours and patterns fuel our early imaginations. Throughout history animals have also been used in storytelling, legend and folklore to simplify the complexities of adult life. In the same manner, I use the animal form as a vehicle for the expression of human emotions.
"I aim to give my animals a certain awkward vulnerability. This is achieved through a very personal making process. I make a wire framework on to which layers of printed and patterned pieces of porcelain paper clay are applied to form a skin. The natural twists and kinks of the wire frame and the shrinkage of the clay around it during firing are allowed to dictate the posture of the finished animal. The element of chance in these processes is central to my work." Susan O'Byrne