7 September - 13 October
Seeking the Unseen
Pascale Rentsch – Ceramics
Pascale Rentsch, originally from Switzerland, is now based in the historic market town of Haddington, East Lothian.
Pascale’s ceramic work is inspired by the natural world. Her drawings and paintings of the Fauna, Flora and the natural world combine to make her ceramics unique and individual. There is a beauty in the way in which her drawings inform the pots and there is a very clear connection between the two.
The original imagery used in my ceramic pieces are from my observations, painted directly from nature out on location in the great outdoors from many different locations. I also love to incorporate natural materials such as willow and wood to give my pieces a beautiful and authentic appearance.
My ‘black feather with golden thread’ collection stems from my boys finding that particular black feather for me. They came home together stretched out their hands and said “we have a little present for you and we thought you could paint it and use it for your ceramic pieces
Seeking the unseen – so many people would have passed this black ordinary looking feather but my boys thought of me and saw beauty in it. It is in the most ordinary things that we can find something golden. “
I love the fact that wherever I am in nature, I know, I will always find something beautiful, something that touches me however small and insignificant it might appear.
To see a beautifully presented seaweed composition washed up at a beach and gently arranged by the rhythmic clash of the waves, moves me deeply. Nothing to be changed or added but to capture this intense beauty that nature has created on my piece of paper. I hear the gentle sound of the waves in the background whilst I draw and paint in awe of what I see. I am free and happy, that’s me.’
An Interview with Pascale Rentsch
Who and/or what are your artistic influences?
Since childhood I have been drawing and painting, carrying my sketchbook with me everywhere I went. The drawings and paintings are a vital part of my ceramic pieces- it gives my work my voice- my identity.
One of my great influences was John Busby, who lived and worked as a proclaimed artist in Ormiston, East Lothian. I met John when I was a teenager aged 15, in Switzerland. Later on in life he became one of our dearest friends of our family. He taught me that a line is not just a line. A line breaths and is alive when we draw. This is why I am drawing from life, in the great outdoors because I feel it, I breathe it and I have the privilege to express it on a piece paper or on a slab of clay. I use these drawings and paintings and transfer them onto my ceramic pieces. Each drawing is a part of my life, a memory of where I was, what I saw and what I felt.
Tell me a bit about your practise and the way in which you work.
The ceramic pieces become alive and tell my story. I sometimes even take a bag of clay out with me and treat the clay just like a piece of paper and create vessels in the open and capture what I see and feel. When I go out for a family walk, I always collect things. My brain never shuts off, I am always looking, seeking, connecting, being alert and being inspired.
I love the fact that wherever I am in nature, I know I will always find something beautiful, something that touches me however small it might appear.
Why do you do what you do now? What drives you to produce your work?
I have been extremely passionate about my drawing and painting since childhood. I feel free and happy when I draw and paint, and have a true connection with myself and the natural world around me. I have exactly the same feelings when I am sitting at my pottery wheel and working with clay. I draw, paint and create instinctively, follow feelings rather than worked out thoughts.
I have first come in to contact with clay when I probably was feeling at one of my lowest point in my life. After nursing and taking care of my 3 children, I felt really isolated and lonely. The worst of it all, I lost my identity, who I was and what made me - ME.
I took part in an evening ‘working with clay’ class, something to do I thought and little did I know that this would change my life. I bought myself a kiln, a wheel and converted our garage into my studio. From a place of loneliness and complete loss of my identity, I have found myself through clay again in a much stronger way.
What would you like an audience to take from your work?
I hope the audience feel connected with my pieces and be part of my story but ultimately be touched with what they see and create their own story, emotions, feelings and connections relevant to their own life.
Is it possible to describe a typical day in the studio?
A typical day in the studio is starting off with a cafe latte, once I have dropped my boys off to school. There might be pieces to trim and then slipped, bisque fired pieces to be glazed or even new work produced on the wheel, inspired by my countless nature findings. One of my favourite parts is when the work is glazed and I can put my stamp, my voice onto my work by transferring my paintings and drawings onto my pieces, that is when they transform into something that is made only by me.