A Meeting of Two Artists – Alexander Lamont and Astrid Dahl

24 December 2014 Posted by Alexandra

As we prepared this blog entry we learned that the wall sconce from our new Black Orchid collection is featured in the current issue of the American magazine, interiors.  Thank you interiors magazine and to this serendipitous timing.  

The Labellum Wall sconce in the Dec/Jan 2015 issue of interiors magazine.

Alex discovered the work of South African ceramicist Astrid Dahl some years ago. He was drawn to the grandeur of her organic forms and felt a natural affinity with her preference for hand worked clay born of the African coil pot.  Beginning a correspondence with Astrid they discovered a shared experience with working with bronze and a mutual love of the work of botanical photographer, Karl Blossfeldt.

“Blossfeldt’s monotone prints determined that I would work with white clay as it creates a pure canvas for light and dark to shape the piece. This approach also captures the presence of the flora which inspired it” – Astrid Dahl

Working only in white clay Astrid creates pieces that are as much formed by light and shadow as the clay itself.
The white ceramic Encyclia vase before being cast in lost wax bronze.

Astrid began working with clay when she met ceramic lecturer Hendrik Stroebel at Tehnickon Natal in South Africa. He encouraged Astrid to explore clay and she soon began to learn the traditional South African methods of coiling and handworking clay. It is here that she found her vocabulary. After graduation Astrid moved to Nottingham Road in South Africa’s Midlands to take up work in a bronze casting foundry. There she met the designer, Neville Trickett, who introduced her to the photography of Karl Blossfeldt.

Just as a great work of literature demands to be translated into other languages, a great work of art can find a whole new language when recreated with other materials. Alexander envisioned the sensual and sculptural quality of Astrid’s ceramics translated into his own beloved bronze. He commissioned a group of works inspired by orchids that were finally cast in lost wax bronze. The delicate orchid forms were transposed in rich dark tones to accentuate the smooth tactility of bronze.

While Astrid Dahl’s pure white ceramic orchids emanate a light and almost frail beauty, Alexander Lamont’s Black Orchid Collection embodies a sense of mystery and power. The group of three bronze vases and wall sconce named after species of orchids are richly infused with their own contrasting light and dark notes visible in the bronze patina that emphasize the sculptural shapes that make up the anatomy of the orchids.

Maxillia bronze vessel
The Aphyllum bronze vase 

The Labellum Sconce

The Black Orchid Collection brings the sculptural sensitivity of ceramicist Astrid Dahl into play with the alchemical bronze work of Alexander Lamont. The result is like a cross fertilisation of orchids – strange, exotic and sensual. 

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