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Ama Menec

My natural history sculptures focus primarily on endangered British animals, and those that have made a comeback such as the Buzzard, Red Kite, Wild Boar, Raven and Moose. I am also influenced by early 20th century stone carving, particularly Art Deco, the qualities of line and use of negative spaces. My wall hanging sculptures are often inspired by wood cut and lino print composition combined with architectural stone carving techniques. I have strived for a similar look by carving back leather hard clay using sharp steel tools, like a softer form of stone carving or engraving. This urge for crisper smoother surfaces has recently made me begin to explore other materials, such as foundry bronze, as ceramic surfaces often soften during the firing. By exploring the chemistry of bronze patination, I hope to achieve all the colour possibilities previously only available in ceramics. In addition moving into other materials will enable my sculptures to break free of gravity, and give new lighter opportunities for poses.

My current work is an exploration of bird life, in full three dimensions, available in foundry bronze as well as ceramic. The Buzzard, Red Kite and Swift in patinated Bronze are being cast at the foundry this spring. I am focussing presently on raptors as they are such awe-inspiring birds. My Buzzard  and Red Kite sculptures are of life sized female birds to help the viewer appreciate the scale and presence of the real animal. My present project is of a Barn Owl which I hope to have finished by the summer of 2013 in patinated foundry Bronze. I am working alongside the Barn Owl Trust with this project and hope to work closely with similar organisations on future projects.

All ceramic pieces are fired to mid stoneware temperatures and further weatherproofed using a silicone sealant. Wall hanging ceramic sculptures are threaded with a mixture of polypropylene and stainless steel which is very strong, and won’t rust or rot. All my sculptures are suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces.

I have been working in Ceramics since the early 80’s, gained my Art Foundation in Cambridge in 1984 and have been sculpting full time at Coombe Park since 2002. I have had a varied ceramics career including time spent as potters’ assistant to Rupert Andrews in Cambridge and as a production thrower for David White in West Yorkshire. I gained my Applied Arts B.A. from the University of Derby in 1996, and, as well as full-time sculpting, am also engaged in ceramics teaching and demonstrating.

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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 7 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.