Amy Bowles


June 8 - July 7, 2018

(various titles)

(various titles), 2018
glazed ceramic

‘Have you ever seen a witch bottle?’ my friend Jonny asked. He had just acquired an unusual example. These ceramic bottles were used to ward off sickness and bad luck thought to be brought about by hexes, spells, and the demonic evil-eye. A witch bottle would typically be buried under the fireplace, or the steps of a family threshold. They would often bear the image of a face in relief at the neck, and a decorative emblem on the belly to guard and protect the home against fear and discord. I wanted to make something that shared in the strangeness of these bottles; to create pieces that would provide one with a feeling of protection, but would also vibrate with an uncanny power.

This series of ceramic bottles are wheel-thrown and hand-sculpted. I decorated them in colours of reflective amber, forest greens, earthy browns, and plum glazes, which I used to suggest their connection, as buried objects, to the mystery of the soil.

I sculpted and etched grinning, teeth-bearing faces designed to laugh away negative thoughts. Other faces have eyes closed in peaceful contemplation. Blossoms and foliage adorn their heads like protective crowns to ward off fear and anxiety. Others peer with a watchful intensity.

-- Amy Bowles, May 2018