(scroll to bottom for Mary’s carved porcelain tile selection)
Mary’s animal sculptures:
“The work that I make is a reflection of my interest in the lives and natural beauty of animals, both Domesticated and Wild. Living in the countryside, amongst both farm and woodland, the lives and stories of the animals and birds are always on the edge of ones’ seeing.
The raven croaking, building their nests the deer on the edge of the forest and snowshoe hares hiding in the hedgerows. Living closer to us are our domesticated and familiar friends, the donkey and goats, the fox and the hounds.
The relationships we build with other animals become part of our own Narratives in folktales, fairy tales and mythologies of times past, and our own present.
My rendering of these reflect a historical reference to nineteenth century children’s book illustrations, as well as medieval manuscript illuminations, through the body and rendering of fur, hair and feathered surfaces of the Beings.
Each one is in a static pose, like in the medieval book of hours paintings, suggesting that each being be considered, or remembered, as a representation of an animal in a folktale for the viewer to recall a narrative and enactment of a loved story, or as part of an allegory.
Ultimately, I would like the viewer to be remembered of a story that they recall with fondness, a happiness and a love of the narrative that the animal represents for them”. -M.Philpott
Trinity Hares, 12 x 12″ porcelain tile
Mary Philpott is a graduate of the School of Crafts and Design, Sheridan College (Ceramics), University of Guelph (Art History and Archeology), and MacMaster University (Anthropoloy/Archeology). Her pottery, sculpture and tile work has been exhibited, collected and published internationally. She lives and works near Greenbank, Ontario.
“My ceramic work is inspired by the landscape, flora, fauna and colours of Provence and the aesthetics of William Morris and the English Arts & Crafts Movement.
The tangling of vines on an oak tre, the stems and leaves in a flower bed, the deer that quietly grazes before a sudden noise makes it leap away for cover, the fox that sits quietly amid the flora admiring a hare that instinct urges him to hunt; these things in nature inspire the carvings on my tile work and vessels. The clay becomes a canvas for an imagined world, with jewel-like deep glazes suggesting a moment frozen in time, as if from a children’s storybook from a century ago.
Those who inspire my sensibilities include William Morris, William Blake, Arthur Rackham, Botticelli, and all those masters of the Books of Hours from the Medieval ages, as well as the stained glass artists, sculptors and Cathedral builders in Medieval France.”
Mary sculpts wonderfully lively animals in clay, throws and carves vase forms, and creates beautiful tiles under the Verdant Tile Company name. Her tiles are hand-made in a traditional tile-making method. They are all hand-drawn, carved and pressed with unique imagery and subject matter, then multiple fired with layers of transparent glazes.
She also teaches and is a member of the Roycroft Renaissance Artisans, Tile Heritage Organization, Hamilton Potters Guild, Hand Made Tile Association, The William Morris Society, Tile & Architectural Ceramics Society of Britain and AIR Vallauris, France.