Tsunami 2005

Halima Cassell (born 1975, Pakistan)

Halima Cassell is the daughter of first generation Pakistani immigrants. She was brought up in Manchester, studied 3D Design in Preston at the University of Central Lancashire and has recently emerged as one of the most original young potters working in Britain today. Her multi-cultural background is evident in her work, which is notably infused with Islamic influence drawn from heavily carved architecture. Abstract patterns using repeated strong geometric elements are integral to her work. Her process demands a great deal of time and patience; she starts off by pressing a thick layer of heavily grogged clay into a wooden former, often bowl-shaped. After about five months of gradual drying out, the clay is of the right consistency (between leather-hard and stone-dry) to carve. Without working the patterns out on paper, Halima is intuitively able to work out the mathematics of the pattern in relation to the surface area of the form. The actual carving into the stiff, dry clay takes at least 80 hours. After gradual completion of the drying out, the item is simply fired without any glaze or colouring added. Having earlier had much success with hard-edged patterns, Halima began to use curves to great effect in Tsunami. This was actually made in September 2004, months before the devastating Boxing Day tsunami of the same year. It was inspired by Hokusai's famous woodcut of The Great Wave. The softly fluid shapes in this piece do not evoke a feeling of risk or catastrophe; on the contrary, the whole piece looks as if it were carved out of whipped cream

Acquisition Details

Acquired from the artist
Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland which was originated and operated 2003-2006 by the Contemporary Art Society and supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.
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