Nathalie Hunter

Radiance (2023)

To Nathalie Hunter, creating ceramics with self-sourced or recycled clay is primarily a form of co-creation with the earth, with her surroundings. She calls it a prayer or a poem with the earth. Like plants, minerals and animals, we are of the earth. We are an integral part of it. When preparing the wild clay, she purifies and homogenises it. Then, when the consistency is just right, she turns large pots.

As the clay moves between her fingers, between her hands, over her body, they dance together. During this process, Hunter meditates to create from a place of inner quiet and connectedness. The turning pots itself has always been a kind of magical act for her. It is very fascinating and restores the link with our ancestors, our traditions, our roots. It is a practice that was literally important to the making of food containers, a practice to which Ursula Le Guin refers to in a certain sense in ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’ (1988). Instead of the bag as the first form in which man established a connection with nature and a creative fiction, Hunter uses the clay bowl.

For Hunter, the large bowls represent a song about the abundance of our planet, the abundance of our time. The abundance of possibilities we all enjoy thanks to the access to information and education. They are her way of showing her respect for the earth. She also hopes to inspire gratitude for the amazing possibilities and gifts we enjoy. If we look through inquisitive eyes that are receptive to possibilities, we can create a whole new world.

In addition to ceramics, Hunter also creates drawings inspired on all sorts of traditional symbolic elements. She not only finds them on her walks in Watou but also in the traditional decoration of the faience pottery from nearby Lille.

The project aims to give birth to a new world that is both archaic and futuristic, one that creates a regenerative civilisation, that is connected and infuses every act and decision with life. Hunter resolutely opts for a positive approach. Not to mitigate the urgency but because it is absolutely necessary to take action. Doom mongering only serves to paralyse.

Nathalie Hunter is an artist, master herbalist and permaculture designer. She works around the idea that we are part of nature. She draws and works with reclaimed wild clay to create stories of belonging and rewilding. She aims to inspire gratitude and a deeper respect for the Earth, and to create a regenerative civilization that is connected to nature and life.

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