Winner: My Ceramic Wears – E. M. Alysse Bowd

A porcelain house sits on my head.

I have eaten

the entire dining room set,
including the chandelier.

I moved on to the bedrooms and ate them too.
Each bed,    each book and     bedside lamp,
even the wardrobe and the lost sock that had slid behind the dresser.

The rooms are empty,

my stomach is growling.

A dollhouse was a toy once used for young women to learn and practise proper etiquette of the home, a symbol of an ideal and a form of domestic perfection. Collapsing the dollhouse, I built a new idiosyncratic house, personal, specific, a collage of dormer windows, walls, beds, and chimneys. I see the dollhouse as a space of potential, a form that can be manipulated and improved upon. A porcelain house sits on my head, simultaneously a new head and identity but also a mask and facade as my eyes peek out the incised windows.

I navigate an interdisciplinary creative practice of object-making and performance with a sensitivity for non-linear narratives and personal mythology. This is the initial exploration into a series of images that explore identity, perception, enchantment and ambition while researching the “The Maidens Tragedy” the literary archetype of a heroines journey.

Artist Statement
I navigate an interdisciplinary creative practice of object-making and performance with a sensitivity for non-linear narratives and personal mythology. With a thematic focus on the fictionalization of identity and the possibility of enchantment as a medium of solace, I experiment with consoling emotional labour. I engage with charismatic archetypes of fairy tale heroines and test these constructions through mimicry, endurance, failure and the invention of ritual and daily routine.

My ceramic studio practice is a contrasting space of implied narrative, ritual, repetition, invention, and labour. I amass landscapes of sensuous forms. Using extremely thin sheets of porcelain, I treat clay as fabric and call on dressmaking techniques to exploit the plasticity and elegance of clay. The thinness and delicate construction allows for the creation of extremely fragile objects, which demands a particular preciousness. The precious objects often become an object of sentiment as it requires the care and tenderness of its possessor.  This gestural behaviour is furtive for developing a personal relationship with the object, making it more than simply an aesthetic surface or form but an evocative possession. It is this characteristic of the porcelain object, its ability to hold and personify personal narrative, status, and memory, that is so enticing as an object maker. The porcelain object, positioned in a tradition of function expects performance and activation. The functional object therefore is the interstice between my performance practice and my ceramic work. The utility of my work becomes a vessel that listens and harbours. I facilitate the manifestation of emotions into tangible objects through the invention of new domestic rituals.

E. M. Alysse Bowd is the winner of the Ceramic Shots Photo Competition: My Ceramic Wears, published in The Journal of Australian Ceramics, Vol 56 No 1, April 2017.
E. M. Alysse Bowd was the creative mind behind the context, concept, composition, costume, the object making and the performance. Ole Akhoy was the photographer/documenter under Bowd’s direction. The photo was taken in December 2016 at Guldagergaard Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark.

E. M. Alysse Bowd currently resides in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.