25.11.11 Fragile

Julia Stewart - Fragile

25th NOVEMBER 2011: Opening celebration for two ceramics exhibitions -

Julia Stewart's Fragile


From Human Hands by Cynthia Manietta

on Friday at 7pm.

Fragile - Works by Julia Stewart

I’ve had fun playing with the concept of fragile in my ceramic practice. It is a word with many meanings:

easily broken, delicate, brittle, frail, vulnerable,

lacking substance or force, flimsy..

Fragile also describes the processes and outcomes achieved with my use of cellulose fibre to create moulded porcelain pots. I liken the practice to my experiences as

a mother and latterly a nurse. Where, in an ideal situation,

I notice a fragile situation and offer focused

and timely support which hopefully results in

the conservation of personal agency.

The strawberry figs on the other hand are moulded from plaster which results in a delicate form that allows the porcelain to pick up on the detail of the fruit. Often I found the liquid clay did not cover all surfaces equally. It reminded me of fruit eaten by bats.

At this same time, bats were making news headlines. They are struggling to cope with changing habitat. Scientists now believe that as a result of their food chain being degraded, bats are carrying a heavy and varied viral disease load that can be lethal to humans. Though very fragile creatures, bat colonies can also cause major degradation to native forests. Because of these issues community opinion is divided about the value of bats. Therefore, bats themselves are vulnerable creatures

and it is not uncommon sight to see bats

hanging from power lines alongside roads,

or caught in nets protecting fruit trees.

It was the vulnerability of bats and their visual fragility which I linked to the moulded fruits I was making

– both consistent with my concept of fragile.


I continue to explore the concept fragile as

I display the works for exhibition.


Julia was a health professional for many years and practiced ceramics as a pastime. Since retirement from the health workforce Julia has formalised her ceramic studies to add vigour to her ceramic practice.

In ceramics, I supported each flexible mould until

the liquid clay was sufficiently solid to stand alone …

but not become rigid. The still soft clay had the

capacity to move and take on a unique form.

This process of creating a strong pot from

something initially so fragile epitomises life.


is on view from the 15th until the 28th of November 2011.

Julia's innovative suspended shelving

displays her porcelain artworks to the full.

 Merriel Hume gives the opening speech.

Glazed cylindrical pots.