We first met artist Charlie Russell at an open studio whilst sourcing work from local artists and makers to accompany our Entangled: Threads & Making exhibition. It was there that Charlie's prototype House Goddesses caught our eye. Each one is entirely unique, lovingly made and glazed by hand, and fired at over 1000 degrees. Now, we're excited to offer an exclusive range of Charlie's work to purchase online. We caught up with her this week, to hear more about her practice.
The themes for my work come from within me, based on my personal experiences and perspective but are a reflection of bigger and more general themes I see reflected back at me in many different forms. The ancient archetypes of Woman, Mother & Goddess are found in every culture, religion and human story.
I am inspired by our gentle and powerful bodies, by images of women and nature from all cultures. I believe that to be authentic, resilient and powerful is fundamentally beautiful. The abiding natural world and women in community across time are the two themes that run through everything I make and think about. How we find our own way to connect to our ancient selves is the purpose of the objects I make.
The process of making the Goddesses is long and requires timing and patience... basically what I need to learn anyway so it's an ongoing joke with myself! I enjoy the knowledge that I will be making for the rest of my life, it's very comforting and watching my skills develop and ideas change is the most exciting part.
They are inspired by all the victories and the heartbreaks that intertwine and beget each other throughout our choices and experiences. I made them for myself to start with, I wanted an object to hold and work out an emotion... to represent a trauma and make it a powerful experience rather than a negative one.
We all experience quiet personal challenges and huge grief. I wanted to recognise that... to answer it really with an object that you can make your own... something to represent an event, feeling, intention anything you want to focus on. I think there is an important meditation element to processing emotions and experiences and if we have an object that reminds us of our intended outcome of that processing it can act as a touchstone, useful full stop or a reminder of self belief.
I wanted to remind myself of and celebrate the power and resilience of women throughout history/humanity... that our experiences are a collective to draw comfort from. So many lives and loves and losses have gone before and go on alongside us. It keeps me aware that my individual experiences take place in a much bigger picture and I find that really helpful, it gives me perspective and peace.
Has our programme influenced your practice?