Pennsylvania: Commemorative Plates

Endangered Species Projects

Pennsylvania: Commemorative Plates

Being a life-long maker of pottery, it is how I have come to understand the world, and how I express concerns and reflections of society today.

This exhibition is 269 porcelain commemorative plates for each species of Pennsylvania that are endangered, venerable or of concern as determined by the US Fish & Wildlife agency and the Natural Heritage Program of Pennsylvania. As the exhibition is in Philadelphia, I am focused on only local species, species in ‘my back yard’. On the back of each plate there is a brief easy about the species in general, as well as information about what we can do to support their repopulation.

The beauty of the exhibition is that it completely spans the back wall of the gallery, from floor to ceiling and even wrapping around each corner. When standing in front of this vast spread of commemorative plates, it completely fills the views vision. These often-unseen species, visible.

These plates are made from porcelain, hand built on a mold. Each drawing is lightly cut into the surface and inlay with blue black slip (colored clay) and the extra rinsed away. After a first firing, a clear glaze is applied and the plater is re-fired. Then the platinum luster is painted around the species, this is a highly reflective mirror-like surface in which one can see a shadow of their own image. Lastly, an essay about the species, why it is having trouble and what can be done to help it is applied to the underside of the plate and fired again.

As special thank you to all those who helped with this project: Michael McCullough, Kyia Lindau and Hazel Galloway – Species Researchers. Maya Moen, Ryan Embry, Rosemary Howell, Candice Methe, Kelly Seitz – Studio Assistance. The Archie Bray Foundation & Business for use of their equipment – Chuck Adylett, Todd Pentico, Steven Lee. This research for this exhibition was done to the best of our ability, and with the best of intentions. This exhibition would not have been possible without the support of a United States Artist Fellowship Grant.

Pennsylvania Commemorative Plate Book of Species
Pennsylvania Commemorative Plate Book of Species