2013 Australian Craft Awards

Dura Mater (Tough Mother) [DRAFT]

Image Credit : Andrew Barcham Screaming Pixels

Winner Winner 


Life could be considered in two halves- The Younger and Older You.
In youth we are fresh, pure and thirst for knowledge, gaining memories as we progress through each stage of our development.
As we grow older, we can lose. We can lose our keys or money; friends and employment, and eventually our health and memories.

This porcelain wall installation is a work depicting the aging process, initially in white round shapes, and as we age, our bodies, cells or minds begin to become misshapen, or diseased, then crumble and eventually we are just a fragment of what we used to be in our youth, with some unable to make the connections they once could.


Sharyn Dingeldei


Dura Mater
(Latin) “tough mother.”

I have experienced the isolation of distance from a loved one.
A wealth of memories, vision or hearing can slowly erode, imperceptibly at first.
The body slows down, and cells no longer re-generate. Bones become brittle, the skin translucent. I watched my mother’s brain fail her. I saw her despair punctuated with spans of lucidity.
Using a repeat element of the small thrown vessel as a metaphor for thoughts and memories, I am attempting to evoke the passing of time, the scattering of thoughts and the degeneration process. This work is visual representation of this transition.

Design Challenge

The challenge was twofold;
After surgery early in 2012 I was forbidden to handle anything above 4kg for 3 months; and
how to grieve the loss of my mother as I knew her, because of the onset of the horrid disease of dementia. I needed to somehow create positives out of these negative situations. I commenced to play with clay in very small amounts. It lead to creating a work containing many varied sized pieces. With over 2000 porcelain vessels, the weight of the latter had to be factored in to the mounting board. After investigations, a lightweight timber product was decided upon.
Colour matching paint and the colour of clay was to be perfect, so as the underneath did not detract from the main display.

No visible hanging wires was my desire. The need to be strong and safe with minimal damage to any wall was imperative. The hanging style implemented was a 'French Cleat' system. The angled anchoring board requires only four screws to be drilled into a studded wall, and the corresponding cleat simply slides on top to fit neatly into position.

 This award celebrates creative and innovative craftsmanship for original display items. Consideration given to materials, concept, originality, function and aesthetic. May include for example ceramics and other decorative objects.

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