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ArtCraft

#ceramics#Katie Rose Johnston#nature#sculpture

Ceramic ‘Curiosity Clouds’ by Manifesto Celebrate the Natural World in Functional Organic Forms

April 26, 2023

Kate Mothes

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a dark wall, filled with shells, pebbles, and other found organic items.

All images © Katie Rose Johnston, shared with permission

The practice of assembling cabinets of curiosities, or Wunderkammers, may date back to the 16th century, but the human impulse to collect, document, study, and learn from our surroundings goes back millennia. Scottish artist Katie Rose Johnston, who works as Manifesto, celebrates the timeless pastime of collecting in her series Curiosity Clouds. Exploring ceramics at the intersection of art and history, she draws inspiration from natural phenomena and blurring the line between form and function.

Johnston was inspired to create the organic forms after a visit to The Hunterian in Glasgow, where she was fascinated by a vitrine tucked away in the rear of the museum. Displaying bird and insect nests from around the world, it included a cross-section of a termite mound featuring an elaborate network of compartments that the insects use for ventilation. “

The Curiosity Clouds are made using terracotta crank, a type of textured, groggy clay that is often used to make large, durable pots. Johnston forms each piece intuitively rather than relying on sketches, and she enjoys the way the material mimics the earthy, organic, meandering texture of the termite mounds. Always experimenting with different methods, she recently began incorporating materials found in the wild, like a slip coating made from “

Johnston announces updates to the Manifesto shop every few months, with the next restock scheduled for August. You can find more of her work on her website, and follow updates or learn more about her process on Instagram.

A detail of a functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a neutral-colored wall, filled with shells, pebbles, twigs, and other found organic items.

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture filled with shells, pebbles, and other found organic items. It is photographed on a table with a candle and some other sculptural items in the background.A detail of a functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a neutral-colored wall, filled with shells, pebbles, twigs, and other found organic items.

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a neutral-colored wall, filled with shells, pebbles, twigs, and other found organic items. It is shown on a neutral colored wall near some feathers taped to the wall and a print of a bird.

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a dark wall, filled with shells, pebbles, twigs, and other found organic items. It is shown among other natural items taped on the wall.

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture hanging on a neutral-colored wall, filled with shells, pebbles, twigs, and other found organic items.

A detail of a functional, abstract ceramic sculpture with numerous cavities for displaying small items. It rests on a pebble with a candle in the background.

A wall-hanging ceramic sculpture that doubles as a curiosity shelf. It hangs on a light-colored wall and is shown next to a feather taped to the wall and a print of a bird.

A functional, abstract ceramic sculpture made from dark clay.

#ceramics#Katie Rose Johnston#nature#sculpture

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