melissa mcelhone

Mary Lehy, 2021

18 cm
Melissa McElhone has been making sculptures and vessels with clay for over 10 years. Having completed over 10 years of study in ceramics and sculpture she is currently enjoying working in her new studio space on the south coast of NSW. Melissa creates ceramic sculptures and vessels often integrating steel wires, nails and rusty found objects. She uses different clay texturing and firing techniques, preferring to use oxides and clay based slips.
Originally from Perth, now living in Sydney and the NSW South Coast, Melissas visceral sculptures reflect on the timeless emotions felt through separation from home and family.
“I am interested in the commonality of emotions that connects us to our ancestors and every living person. Historically, convicts, refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants have migrated in vessel across oceans leaving home and family. This piece "Mary Lehy" is a tribute to one of my first known ancestors Mary Lehy, who migrated with her sister from Ireland on a "bride ship" to Western Australia in the 1800's. My Mother who lives in Perth with my Dad has been researching our family ancestory and in the process found the passenger list for the The West Australian. I have engraved the womens names, ages and hometowns of the girls who made the voyage. The wire masts are made from 80 year old fencing wire found in farmland of Jerrara NSW. The sails are from old bed base mesh. I miss my family in Perth and can only imagine the yearning for home and people that these poor Irish girls would have felt as they left for Australia. ”
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