In the summer—weather permitting—I tend to sleep with my bedroom window open. Recently, I have been alerted to the presence of ringtail possums by the tell-tale scratching sound of their tiny claws as they run up and down the fence only a metre or two away. When they realise they are being watched they tend to freeze—and I find myself frozen too. We look at each other for a moment, before they move on.

Jennifer Pattinson, Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) vessel, 2022, Southern Ice porcelain and glaze, 7cm x 8cm x 15cm.

I am a Melbourne/Naarm-based ceramic artist working predominantly in translucent porcelain. My practice combines wheel throwing, sculpting, and slip casting to create works that reflect on my personal relationship to the natural world—specifically the native animals around me and our impact upon them as humans.

Jennifer Pattinson, Little raven (Corvus mellori) vessel, 2022, Southern Ice porcelain and glaze, 7.5cm x 11cm x 17.5cm.

This work, Liminal, was inspired by the encounters I have had with my nonhuman neighbours—the ringtail possums who scurry along my fence at night and eat my neighbour’s lemons, the little ravens whose antics I love to watch, and the grey-headed flying foxes who fly over my house on summer evenings. Each of these native species can be defined as ‘liminal’—they have adapted their behaviours to urbanisation and human expansion to the extent that they fall somewhere in between wild and domesticated. This work attempts to recreate an affective encounter with these animals, one in which the audience experiences ‘being seen’ by the nonhuman, in the hopes that it might encourage the viewer to consider their own relationship with the liminal animals around themselves and the ways in which our actions as humans can harm or benefit them.

Jennifer Pattinson, Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) vessel, 2022, Southern Ice porcelain and glaze, 7.5cm x 8cm x 15cm.

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Jennifer Pattinson