Flotsam – Lesa Farrant

I’ve always been a bit of a forager, and since moving to Port Willunga ten years ago I’ve become a secret beachcomber. Every time I go to the beach I take a bag to collect rubbish. I began by collecting natural bits and pieces like Neptune’s necklace, cuttlefish bone and shells, but in the last few years I’ve become increasingly fascinated, slightly obsessed and a bit appalled at my interest in collecting bits of coloured plastic, containers, lids, drinking straws, and other delightful plastic flotsam and jetsam.

My works in clay explore my fascination with detritus in our natural environment. I use natural and unnatural found objects from Port Willunga beach to make moulds, then cast and make plant forms in porcelain. Initially I made local plant forms from natural objects like driftwood, shells, pebbles, cuttlefish bone etc.  Recently I’ve become more interested in the plastic and the rubbish that I find dropped or washed up along the shore.

I realised there was a lot more rubbish on the beach than I had thought. When I looked closely there were tiny little particles of plastic everywhere. I see those little bits of plastic as fascinating jewels; I find them strangely beautiful and yet scary. I heard a program on the radio while working in my studio about rubbish in our ocean, the ocean was referred to as a ‘plastic soup’ full of minute particles that we can’t see, the ocean looks beautiful but its full of plastic.

The most recent plant forms that I have made are a representation of the unnatural looking natural. These plant forms are easily recognisable as being plant forms, and in fact are based on an indigenous species marginata (banksia), however they are made by constructing porcelain components made from moulds of rubbish such as tennis balls and plastic containers found on the beach.

These fragile, almost calcified looking porcelain plant forms are pinned to the wall, which give them the air of a specimen display, somewhere between botany and archaeology.

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Flotsam – Lesa Farrant