• bottle trees on the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains, 2007, photographer -  Cathy Keys

    bottle trees on the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains, 2007, photographer – Cathy Keys

  • design drawings for brown soil boab, sketchbook, 2005 - Cathy Keys

    design drawings for brown soil boab, sketchbook, 2005 – Cathy Keys

  • bottle trees on the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains, 2007, photographer -  Cathy Keys

    bottle trees on the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains, 2007, photographer – Cathy Keys

Brown Soil Boab Artist Statement

Bottle Trees

This series of stoneware ceramics was inspired by small leafed bottle trees growing on the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains (Darling Downs, Queensland). Created during a period of unprecedented drought, this exhibition explores the critical challenge of water storage in natural environments.

Habitat

Despite long-term farming and change to their natural habitat, these trees continue to be a strong sculptural element in Queensland’s rural landscape. Appearing in small but exaggerated family-like clusters, different ‘bottle types’ are evolving in each ‘family’ or microenvironment.

Ceramic coiling technique

The installation consists of over twenty hand-built stoneware ceramic vessels approximately 15cm wide and stand from between 30cm to 60cm high. Individual pieces were created using small clay coils where the forms warp and swell in reference to their role as container. The surface of individual ‘bottles’ have been rubbed in oxides and fired to reflect the colours of their habitat and stressed and cracked in reference to the drought they survive through. The installation was created over a four-month period beginning in January 2006.

Place

Brown Soil Boab continues the exploration of Australian landscape and place, but the vessels created for this exhibition were much thinner and taller than previous collections. It also reflects a media shift from earthenware to stoneware clays. Shown at the Ivory Street Window – Craft Queensland (now Artisan), Brisbane, July 2006 during Verge the 11th National Australian Ceramics Conference.