Recipient of the Bold and Beautiful Art Prize and the Wolf Wennrich Award for Craftmanship – Mr Michael Wennrich Endowment. 


In my creative practice, I have explored the inter-dependency of species using the symbiotic relationships between coral and people as a metaphor to understand the effects, my own role, and the influence of everyday human activities as contributing causes to climate change.
I have been inspired by the underwater worlds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Tragically these unique ecosystems are now in decline with many corals facing total extinction. I am heartbroken to watch this deterioration accelerating and I have used material processes and narratives to draw attention to this looming catastrophe.

In my work, I have chosen vitreous enamel, electroforming and 3D printing—in conjunction with goldsmithing techniques—to express my feelings about these issues. Vitreous enamel contains limestone, a material formed by coral polyps. I am interested in the ability of small things to exceed their status as objects, just as the millions of tiny coral polyps that have formed giant coral reefs. Using enamel, I have been able to incorporate vibrant colours and textures into my work to pay homage to these places and their beautiful processes of renewal.

I have used computer modelling to 3D print resin coral forms to suggest a manufactured replica of nature as all that remains. I then used an electroforming process to apply a crusty copper coating to the resin, analogous to the monotone brown algae that replace the living coral after bleaching events. In contrast, highly polished reflective domed discs draw the viewer into the work to connect us all and reflect the links between cause and effect.

My project aims to highlight the impact of everyday activities on the environment and to craft repair and healing through the making and gifting of small objects.

In Coral Grief #1, I have explored the links between human-induced climate change and coral reef collapse by using the technique of vitreous enamel, a fused and heated medium, to link people and coral. I have ‘bleached’ both, using an over-firing enamelling technique referencing the overheating of the seas. These images are linked to mirror polished domed discs reflecting the viewer alongside coral fakes, 3D printed forms, as memory of what will remain.

Deborah Fisher, Coral Grief#1, 2022, necklace, vitreous enamel, copper, wax, cotton. 15cm x 10cm x 3cm.

Trial setup of 20 small sculptures in the studio
Deborah Fisher, Tropical souvenir, 2022, trial installation.

20 small sculptures on low table in gallery with dramatic lighting
Deborah Fisher, Tropical souvenir(s), 2022, copper, wax, vitreous enamel, resin, cotton, twenty works each 12cm x 10cm x 1cm.

Deborah Fisher, Tropical Souvenir, 2022, video of individual pieces.

pencil on paper black and white drawing of hand with coral wrapping around arm enclosed in box
Deborah Fisher, Reef not [drawing study], pencil on paper, 84cm x 70cm.

Deborah holding torch annealing work with blue flame
Deborah Fisher, Touchstone [work in progress], 2022. Image credit: Sophie Burnett.

black and white enamel drawing and copper oval object
Deborah Fisher, Reef not and Touchstones, 2022, vitreous enamel, steel, copper, recycled fishing line, 15cm x 7cm x 0.3cm and 7cm x 4cm x 3cm.

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Deborah Fisher