Karen Banks - Organic exhibition
Karen is a ceramic artist who expresses her love of the natural world and the vessel forms created by nature, by producing handbuilt pieces with organic quality, marked by the elemental forces of fire and smoke.
Her inspiration comes from the natural world and the beauty of found objects. Unearthing pieces of broken ceramic particularly interests her, made of clay which comes from the earth, to end up returning to the earth to be discovered like a piece from a historical jigsaw. Karen sets out to create a sense of the unearthed and "found" in her work. She enjoys the unpredictability of smoke firing; it enhances the organic and natural quality of the individual pieces. No two pieces are ever the same, only similar, as if part of the same "family".
The vessel is a constant theme for Karen, as is the relation of the inside to the outside. She is interested in the contrast between the aged and weathered textures of the exterior walls of objects such as pebbles and shells and the silky smooth interiors when exposed.
For Karen the tactile experience is as important as appreciating the form. The curves of her large vessels are accentuated by her burnishing and polishing processes. With the small vessels it is all about the contrasting tactile experiences and the tension between their apparent fragility and ability to balance.
Karen handbuilds from a mixture of stoneware and porcelain clays using a combination of pinching, pressing and scraping techniques for the small vessels, moulding and coiling for the large vessels.
Karen's ceramics can be seen at The Henry Moore Foundation and various art galleries.