Benn Gritt| Sea'cret Worlds
05 May - 31 May 2021
Special opening event 2pm Wednesday 05 May 2021
All welcome | FREE
As a very visual and observant child I delighted in the artistry of nature. Dew drops suspended in delicate webs made iridescent jewels when caught in the warm glow of sunrise, native flowers appearing like magic as spring made its presence known. Sediments capturing the history of the world; stored then revealed by weathered soil and of course the abundance of winged and legged fauna we are so lucky to have living in such proximity to us in this country.
At the age of six I was diagnosed with cancer and within a week I had lost my sight entirely. Although I regained six percent vision in my left eye over the following three years of Chemo/Radio therapy the visual world will, almost certainly, remain beyond my grasp, however, I still retain memories of colour, form, and texture. These memories have proven invaluable as they allow me to form approximate mental images when imparted with a detailed verbal description of an item. Skills I have obtained by learning Braille, carpentry, and training as a machinist have developed my sense of touch which has not only allowed me to produce high quality ceramic pieces but also opened opportunities to draw inspiration from objects and items I can handle.
Moving to Lakes Entrance at the age of eleven I was awed by the immensity, sound, and sheer power of the sea. As kids will, my siblings and I collected shells and I became intrigued not only by how these seemingly fragile forms could survive such an unforgiving environment but also by the abundance of variation; each shell is individual and unique in some small, often minute, way.
My shell forms came into existence as a result of my desire to develop my pinch potting skills and a hope to create something fragile yet sturdy and beautiful in form. A shell appears simple in design at first glance, however, to create the diminishing spiral and other recognisable features of a typical shell it took some time to develop a technique to manipulate a pinch pot both internally and externally simultaneously. All of the smaller shells on display are formed from one or two pinch pots, the large items are formed by a combination of coiling and pinch potting. Each shell is free formed and unique. I could have produced copies of existing species but for myself it’s more about capturing the essence of what a shell is, drawing inspiration from nature and generating that feeling you have as a child picking up your first shell: pure wonder and curiosity, rather than creating a duplicate.
I’d like to thank Robyn, Pat, Linda, Carol … all members of the East Gippsland Ceramic Group who have all been so instrumental in my creative pursuits. You could not hope to find a more supportive, accepting, talented or unique bunch of individuals. From transport to advice and knowledge; I’m grateful to you all. I’d also like to particularly thank Malcolm. Malcolm not only introduced me to ceramics and a creative means of expressing myself but has also been a huge support, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience. Without his encouragement and support I would not be displaying these pieces today, thank you Malcolm.
I’d also like to thank my Mum for her patience, suggestions and frequent verbal descriptions of random sea creatures often at odd times of the day as I sought inspiration. Likewise, I would like to thank my grandmother who has always been one of my greatest advocates but who sadly left us last year. Her encouragement and faith will never be forgotten.