15: Catkin

About Pollinating Catkin

Ceramic stoneware and aluminium wire

A contemporary ceramic sculpture of a birch catkin, displaying a pollen protein inside. It represents the regeneration of the birch tree and illustrates how the strands of the protein both protect and unfold to release the pollen. The relative size of the protein to the catkin is exaggerated, as in reality

it is smaller than a blade of grass in relation to the planet. The open suspension of the protein conveys movement and provides a sense of anticipation that the pollen is about to break free.

The main catkin is hand coiled to obtain a natural variation in shape. A red slip motif beneath the glaze depicts the striking colour of the tips of birch catkin seeds, which appear in May. The tiny ridges of the catkin are captured using different depths of a crawl glaze, which encourages closer examination. The piece is fired to 1260°C.


Jane Yarnall

About Jane

Jane has an MA (distinction) in Ceramics from Bath Spa University and was one of just a few graduates selected in 2020 by the Crafts Council for their Future Edit. Prior to studying ceramics she obtained an MSc in bioinformatics, and has a keen interest in genetic protein forms, which has influenced a lot of her artwork.

Jane Yarnall