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Arts / From Shetland to Stockholm for flora art

Kay Aplin at the Stockholm exhibition with her piece Selfheal Roundel.

ARTWORK inspired by Shetland flora has gone on show in Sweden.

The exhibition, at the Kaolin gallery in Stockholm, is the work of architectural ceramist Kay Aplin.

It stems from a collection of micro-flora she collected on walks during a residency in Shetland in 2015.

It also builds on work created for her exhibition In A Shetland Landscape at the Shetland Museum in 2016, a ceramic and sound collaboration with Joseph Young.

The flora in question are tiny plants which she thought would be interesting to translate into clay.

Devils Bit Scabious, Vementry.

Aplin, who is based in Brighton, used a digital microscope to capture magnified images before creating clay prototypes which went on display in the museum in Lerwick.

She has since spent two years creating a new series of woodfired porcelain roundels of her Shetland flora designs, made in residence at Wood Firing Symposia in Kohila, Estonia and Guldagergaard, Denmark.

Aplin explained that woodfiring is a much more “involved” process than using electric kilns, which can last for a number of days and reaches temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees.

“You’ve got a fire, and you just keep stoking the fire, which is why you need to be tending it 24 hours a day for the length of the firing,” she said.

The process can also bring cut iron to the surface of the clay, creating “wonderful colour”, while wood ash itself acts as a glaze.

Aplin said her next hope with the work is to put it on show in Shetland.

“My intention is to exhibit it back where it comes from, as soon as I can,” she said.

The Shetland Flora exhibition is open now in Stockholm until 20 November.

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