“My exhibition ‘D æ g e s e a g e’ includes a series of clay botanical sculptures made during my 2022 artist residency at BigCi in the Blue Mountains. Waratah, Pagoda Rock Daisy and Mountain Devil flowers, were studied from life, but remembering aspects of the flower without reference was important for capturing their embodiment. I increased the scale of the flowers and created single hollow flower heads. My work involves shaping and attaching petals, making moulds, extruding clay to make patterns and filaments and then placing the sculpture on a surface while still malleable enough to produce a flat, free-standing base. I pressed textures from Grevillea and Waratah leaves onto the wet clay, so the environment directly influences the finished work. The embossed markings imply vulnerability, as many native flowers now only exist naturally in National Parks. In Ku ring gai National Park, I noticed the rangers had painted the flowering waratahs with blue acrylic paint to deter visitors from picking them. In the Gardens of Stone National Park, the rare Pagoda Daisy’s survival is closely associated with geodiversity and grows in rock crevices protecting them from grazing, fires and extinction. My artworks ‘Blue Waratah’ and the larger-than-life-size ‘Pagoda Rock Daisy’ symbolise these stories of adversity. ‘D æ g e s e a g e’, meaning ‘day’s eye’, represents the daisy’s intrinsic opening and closing of its fan-like petals and the delicate balance of nature.”
Michelle Perrett has exhibited work as a finalist in various art prizes for her porcelain botanical sculpture and installations, including ‘Enclosed Garden’ in the North Sydney Art Prize 2019. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Art from the UNSW, College of Fine Arts (COFA) and an Advanced Diploma in Ceramics, Northern Beaches TAFE. Michelle received the Northern Beaches Council Residency Award at Eramboo 2018 and was an Open Winner in the Northern Beaches Art Prize – ‘Postcards from Home’ 2020. She was a finalist in the Meroogal Woman’s Art Prize 2016, Little Things Art Prize 2020 and the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize 2021. Recently Michelle returned from an artist residency where she created a series of sculptures about endemic flowers and threatened plant species at BigCi, Bilpin 2022.