Shelagh Spear

The human condition still provides me with a rich source of inspiration for ceramic making. A human figure in my sculpture is sometimes joined by a bird, cat, dog or horse. When an animal form stands alone it shows traces of human contact: horses are groomed, have human trappings or appear as guardians. What I am trying to express in clay is the connected nature of us all, whether man or beast.

I often use elements of the natural and man-made landscape to provide a backdrop, to help set the scene. This “stage setting” could be in the form of an arch or perhaps a tree or some more domestic item. In the real landscape, anyone visiting an ancient monument or village church cannot fail to see the huge investment of effort involved in the building of such things, and be impressed by the evident need of the builders to make contact with the spiritual. Perhaps hinting at such things in my work, for example: Figures in Pilgrimage, have encouraged recent commissions inviting me to develop work on other religious themes.