Vivid patterns and the myriad shapes of marine denizens inspire an ongoing series of porcelain platters by Araceli Adams. Working under the studio name Casa Adams, the Sydney-based artist paints colorful crustaceans, mollusks, and fish, highlighting different features in a celebration of biological variety. “Each piece has the species name written on the back, with the hope that it might spark a conversation about our beautiful biodiversity over a meal,” she says. “The plates are made to be used every day.”
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When enrolled in ceramics classes around ten years ago at Greenwich House Pottery in New York City, Adams fell in love with porcelain. “I had always loved drawing and painting, so being able to do so on a functional medium such as a plate just seemed perfect,” she says. Her interest in Australian sea life developed when she met her husband. “He grew up in Lake Macquarie, (on) Australia’s largest saltwater lake, and each time we visited his parents, we went fishing, crabbing, and really made the most of being so close to the water. My curiosity to learn more about our underwater species just continued to grow since then.”
In her classes, Adams teaches students to work with underglazes and about the species they paint. She recently partnered with Dr. Yi-Kai Tea, an ichthyologist and taxonomist, to learn about fish he named and then portray them on porcelain. “What I am trying to convey with my ceramics is to make pieces that reflect the sheer beauty of our marine biodiversity—in Australia and across the globe—so they elicit wonder, spark curiosity to learn more, and ultimately nudge towards supporting conservation efforts.”
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