Swamp Cartography

Swamp Cartography: Notes in silver and clay

Collaborative work by Rebecca Ward & Shannon Garson created for an Arts Queensland funded touring exhibition project 2009 – 2012 (find Shannon’s work at http://www.shannongarsonporcelain.com)

The Wallum (Coastal lowland heath) areas of South-East Queensland are endangered but beautiful ecosystems, overlooked by the casual observer and threatened by development. The humility of the stunted vegetation springing tenaciously from acidic sandy soil is deceptive: closer examination reveals a tiny world of beauty in the intricate details. The small but exquisitely jewel-like flowering and fruiting bodies, leaf types and stems provide inspiration for jeweller Rebecca Ward and ceramicist Shannon Garson in Swamp Cartography.

Mapping is a theme that has emerged strongly in the work of the artists during this project. In 2009 Shannon and Rebecca began the collaborative process with a series of field trips into the hot and scratchy Wallum of the south east coast. They collected photographs, stories, twigs, leaves and impressions of flora in porcelain and silicone. This experience and data became the inspiration for a body of ceramic, jewellery and glass works that can be read as a map not only of the Wallum through the seasons, but also as a map to describe the artistic, collaborative process. The delicate marks and impressions on the jewellery and vessels draw the beholder through the surface textures and into the secretive and hidden layers of Wallum.