My ceramics and visual arts practice has always been inspired by the spaces and places around me, both urban and natural environments. The way a building stands in harmony (or discord) with its surroundings, how we as individuals interact with our environment, and the physical and emotional impact of these spaces on our lives holds enduring interest for me.

This intrigue and exploration is supporting the production of a new body of creative work, delving deeper into the intersection between architecture, natural spaces, and my sense of place.

Over the past few months, my reading and exploration has taken me through architectural literature, blogs, books, and artist exhibitions on all sorts of subject matter, whatever I could lay my hands on really, to understand more about how I / we experience buildings and the spaces within them. I’m especially interested in how buildings and their design, influences our bodily movements, how we behave physically in a space. I’ve also wanted to understand more about how buildings sit in the landscape and how this influences the sense of place I feel when I dwell in a building for a while. Even just how it sits within a natural space.

Over the past year I’ve made visits to specific buildings in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne and in smaller towns in Australia and documented my personal experiences, observing how architecture and natural spaces interplay. The balance and tension between these elements profoundly influence our movement, interaction, and emotions. In this latest body of work, I have attempted to capture this, presenting it in the form of tactile ceramic pieces that invite viewers to explore the themes I’ve pondered.


My new work in progress explores and incorporates Arcadia as a concept that has its roots in Greek mythology and ancient Greek pastoral literature. It is often depicted as a utopian paradise, an idyllic and unspoiled wilderness inhabited by shepherds and nymphs living in harmony with nature. The term has been used throughout history to describe an idealized vision of rural life, where people and nature coexist in a simple, peaceful, and uncorrupted state.

In my research exploring architecture, nature, and place, the concept of Arcadia serves as a symbol or metaphor, representing an aspiration to create ceramic and visual artworks that are harmonious, balanced, and  artworks that reflect both architectural design elements and the natural world. A motif is constantly appearing, circles of differing sizes cut out of my forms become apertures – windows through which you might imagine Arcadia.

Harmonious Coexistence:

I have been exploring the architectural designs of Australian architect Richard Le Plastrier. His early work has a distinctive Japanese influence, and his buildings feel in harmony with the natural surroundings into which they were constructed and, now seemingly belong, as if they had grown out of the earth. I believe this was Le Plastrier’s intent and this is consistently echoed throughout his career with the many buildings he has designed sitting so naturally into the landscapes.

I am exploring Le Plastrier’s choice of materials, the layout of the buildings including corridors, no glass circular windows, pavilion style roofs and courtyards, and generally open style buildings that are akin to camping if you get to live in one of them. I would love to reside in one of them, or indeed have a purpose-built studio that reflected his designs.  So, I am considering how buildings like Le Plastrier’s blend seamlessly into the landscape, rather than standing out as stark, artificial structures and how I can embody some of the elements of his designs into my own ceramic and visual art works. When I think of his work, I think of an Arcadian sense of harmony.

The collection of artworks in this project aims to provoke conversations about the intimate connection between architecture, natural spaces, and individual experiences. In this body of work, I’ve used ceramic experimentation to craft pieces that mirror architectural elements and represent personal experiences related to specific places. I’m not making pieces that look like buildings, I’m using planes and angles, geometry to reflect architectural elements.

One of my installation works, an grouping of ceramic cubes titled, “Arcadian Apertures,” encapsulates the Arcadian ideal of harmonious coexistence between the human-made world and the natural realm. It consists of five cube forms, punctuated with small openings, reminiscent of windows. The textured surfaces and light watercolour wash echo abstract landscapes. Each cube is a microcosm of the world I’ve come to appreciate through my research—a world where architecture exists in conversation with nature.

Another series of forms created titled “Passage” was inspired by the elegance and tranquillity of Japanese urns. The vessel, adorned with a cylinder running through the centre, invites contemplation of the harmonious blend of geometry, art, and natural aesthetics that define the traditional Japanese architectural ethos. It’s a piece that has taught me how human ingenuity and nature’s beauty can complement each other.

I am prioritizing self-reflection and documenting as I go along, using my practice to explore how architecture moulds our experiences, identities, and interactions with place. So far, the creating of this latest body of work has been an enriching journey for me as an artist, allowing me to explore the delicate nuances between the built environment and the natural world. As the work continues, I hope to offer my audience a fresh lens through which to see the symbiotic relationship between architecture, space, and art.

Photo Credit Tony Webdale.

Photo Credit Tony Webdale

Photo Credit Anna Guthrie 2023.