Portage Ceramic Awards 'Peoples Choice' winner 2010
Rebecca Shawyer’s sculptures have been described as
ethereal, intricately decorated carnival imagery, slightly
unnerving, beguiling, grotesquely eerily beautiful, theatrical
and intense. No two are ever the same.
For 13 intense years Shawyer expressed her creativity through Patisserie. The majority of this was in Europe where in 1995
she won the prestigious British Dessert of the Year, and was
Pastry Chef on Tour for Neil Diamond and Tina Turner.
After moving to Northern Italy, she became Prima Pasticcera
at Italy’s first three star Michelin; the restaurant of renowned
Italian chef Gvaltiero Marchesi - founder of Modern Italian
Cuisine. Rebecca was also the first woman to work for
World Champion Pastry Chef Iginio Massari.
In 2002 Shawyer returned to New Zealand to explore a
more permanent medium for her creativity.
Approaching clay with the same obsessive dedication that
saw her succeed in Patisserie, her unique sculptures are
now in collections both in New Zealand and abroad. For safe transportation she now constructs them with detachable body
I am driven by the need to create; it has become as necessary to me as eating and sleeping. My clay sculptures are an expression of my own consciousness, a tribute to the incredible gift of imagination within us all.
Each work has its own spirit, encouraging the viewer to engage, in much the same way they would with another person, unconsciously forming a narrative.
My use of anthropomorphic and archetypal imagery often triggers recognition in the collective unconscious. Simultaneously I aspire for the antithesis to occur through the uniqueness of my work. A characteristic obtained by approaching a medium often used in functional ware, with the liberation of an artist and the process of a Pastry Chef. Although eternally an integral part of the finished work, I relinquish this process after the first firing, as materiality becomes paramount. I have discovered that in exposing the nature of my materials I add to the character and depth of my creations.
The conception of each sculpture is intuitive; I start directly in clay. Like children they are formed but take on a life of their own. I am often surprised and amused by the results.
Influenced from a young age by the works of Picasso, Bosch, Bruegel and Beardsley, the unbridled imaginations of these artists’ permanently opened my vision, greatly facilitating my ability to discard limiting convention. Literature, theatre, film and music are also referenced at times.
I form a very deep attachment to every sculpture I make. Each is a result of my literal hands on approach, the hundred hours and more each work takes to create, and the lifetime they have taken me to conceive.
There is currently a waiting list for commissions.