When the Gods walked the earth

During my work with clay and fire I have learnt a lot. I started very early on to experience  the earth as a living entity,Gaia,  and my torsos are very much a way of describing this. I sculpt the Goddess as I see her; as the land, the sea, forest and lakes. I combine the four elements; earth, fire, water and air in a deliberate ceremony to celebrate what I see as sacred. I use the plaster moulds as blank canvas’ to paint the Goddess in the most beautiful way that I can and my understanding of the Spirits increase as I work. They are very much involved.

We tend to only see what our culture, our education and our prejudices have trained us to see. I heard a true story when I was a child about how in 1520 when Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Terra del Fuego in South America, the Del Fuego Indians, who lived around the area, could not see his ships entering the bay – the boats were too big! Nothing in their past experience had prepared them for the idea that vessels could be as big as floating houses – they were used to canoes, and tiny canoes were the only reality for them.

I remember this story because it brought home to me how blinkered I am in ordinary reality, how I only see what I expect to see.
People born blind who later in life have successful operations to the eyes, enabling them to see, first experience nothing but spinning masses of lights and colours. They‘re unable to pick out specific objects in the chaos and so have to undergo long training to teach their brains how to digest this type of  information. Seeing is learned rather than automatic. We censor what see with our minds, not our eyes, which is why I believe that changes to the way we think will change what we see.

smoke fir torso blog

About Anna

I am a ceramic sculptor living on the South coast near London, England. My work is influenced by my experience of the earth as a living being and seeing how we are all connected with eachother and with the things that surround us. I create ceramic torsos using molochite clay which I often smokefire in galvanised dustbins. I also make House Gods to protect and amuse, and Fat Birds - little smokefired sculptures that tell the story about what it is like to be a fat bird at peace with its surroundings.
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4 Responses to When the Gods walked the earth

  1. faith nolton says:

    When I first saw your work I recognised this deep connection with the earth that you bring to it. Thank you for journeying over the edge of the unknown and bringing this work to birth. It refreshes my senses with the elemental music of deep wild. Much joy and happy serendipity to you.


  2. Jaime Lyerly says:


    These are wonderful! I am amazed by your ability to take the torso to new heights. I love them and the fire that brought them to life. Thanks for sharing these.

    Jaime Lyerly


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