Anna Lewis

Lawrence, Wendy

Ceramicist Wendy Lawrence was supported to participate in a two week residency at the University Malaysia Sarawak in March 2014. Upon her return, Wendy stated:

"The 2 week symposium at the university of Malaysia Sarawak Unimas consisted of working within a group of professional makers, developing and producing works, some finished and some works in progress, for an exhibition at the end of the symposium. We also spent time discussing our work and sharing ideas with 1 another and with the students, by daily dialogue, discussing work and ideas and by individual lectures.

The time spent on Borneo apart from physically making work, also included visits to the national museums, which included textiles, weaving, ceramics, woodcarving. I also visited local craft galleries and craft shops, selling and displaying beautiful sculptures from indigenous tribes. The sculptures were of tribal figures carved with intricate patterns. I found theses trips looking into culture and craft inspiring and incredibly valuable for future work. We also spent time travelling into the jungle, up the rivers in longboats – very hot but very beautiful. What I found particularly fascinating were the patterns of texture and reflection along the river banks. We stayed overnight with an Eban tribe and had a walk through the jungle looking at flora and fauns. A visit to the orangutan sanctuary was also organised, watching and documenting the way these amazing animals move through the trees. I found these varied experiences culturally fascinating and crucial in my work development.

The daily schedule enabled myself and Meri to discuss our work, share ideas, knowledge and skills and understand the way in which we work. It gave us the opportunity to pursue new ideas through dialogue and experimentation.

I believe that working with other makers, having a dialogue and understanding how other ceramic makers develop their own work has huge impact and importance to my own work.

Time to sit and draw, making maquettes and thinking solely about ones work gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my work to date and focusing solely on new ideas and developing new work.

I have learnt so much from working with this group of people and working in a new environment very different to my own. I found this opportunity to be a fundamental part to idea development and working practice.

I found the trip into the jungle incredibly inspiring in terms of natural form and texture and know that this has had a big impact on my work development as it will continue to do through images I can continue to develop new work. I found that understanding the way Meri and the other artists work is very different to my own and I will pursue some of the ideas I did begin to develop. I hope to wood fire some of my work in the future but am also looking at developing some colourful pieces. This development would not have happened without a continued dialogue with Meri and a new and focused working environment."

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