The surroundings can be anything, as in the art does not follow science. You will see a shark metamorphosing out of branches and then a little mantis on the back of a chameleon seated on the shark. But they have a certain flow to them and they all look together. That is Ellen Jewett for you and her ceramic creations. The details are breathtaking to say the least.
By focusing on negative spaces within the animals’ bodies, Jewett strips away the weight of her objects, a quality that is usually inextricably linked to the medium of sculpture. She constructs her ceramic pieces using an additive technique, beginning with the innermost parts of the sculptures and layering outward. As periphery components of the animals’ surroundings are added to the piece, a narrative begins to form. These additional pieces Jewett describes as being beautiful, grotesque, or fantastical and add to the object’s exploration of domestication, death, growth, visibility, and wildness.
Jewett’s materials are just as important as her process—only using clay, paints, finishes, and glazes that are free from toxic properties. In addition to being toxic free, she also attempts to source locally and naturally whenever possible.