Virginia Dowe uses hand building ceramic techniques to present a range of 'one off' sculptures of animals. Skilfully manipulating both extruded and slab forms, she is able to visualise and create imaginative animal studies, capturing their characters with a sense of fun. Current examples include family dogs, rats and horses, sometimes combined with human figures. Virginia's direct observation of animals started young. She says: "I started making dogs from plasticene from an early age and I guess I've never grown up. A dog's face is so expressive. I love the way that repositioning an ear or eyebrow can change the whole look of a dog."
The animals begin their lives as hollow extruded clay tubes which Virginia then cuts and forms, first making the body, which she packs with newspaper to maintain its shape until it is leather hard. Where the clay is joined she leaves a torn or cut edge, preferring to show how it is put together. The pieces are fired to 1160°C in an electric kiln, then smoke-fired in a small lidded brick built pit, packed with torn newspaper and sawdust, and left to burn down for a few hours. The patchy colouring is produced by masking areas with clay and silver foil, to protect them from the smoke. Virginia is based in a studio by the canal in Rugby, where she says the local dog walkers provide her with a constant source of inspiration.
The works illustrated below are intended to give you a taste of what the gallery has to offer, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01223 324222 to find out which pieces are currently available. Prices range from £210 - £440.