The Stillness of Movement by Kate Fitzharris can be interpreted as a physical representation of a coastal walk she took from her seaside home in Dunedin to the top of a hill and back down again. It also explores what she describes as “the connections between our very earthly nature and our heavenly or spiritual aspirations”.
The female figure in The Stillness of Movement kneels quietly with what could almost be described as beatific poise. Both she and the long strand of beads are made from materials that were gathered during the walk. It is clear that the artist views the collecting of materials, and subsequent making, as a kind of meditation and form of self-expression.
“Moving the body dynamically, rhythmically, [in landscape] facilitates a stillness of mind, an ease of being...I wanted this sitting figure to convey something of this stillness found within movement.”
The act of collecting is a methodical and intimate process; one that confers significance upon selected items. Some of the “jewels” collected by Fitzharris become beads for the necklace worn by the figure, while others are encapsulated in wax beads – each metre of the strand serving to document a kilometre of the artist’s walk. Symbols pointing to the cycle of life and the nurturing qualities of home are also evident in this serene installation.
Fitzharris noted that creating the unfired figure was technically challenging due to the local clay’s lack of plasticity. This challenge was accentuated by the addition of materials, such as cow hair, lichens, and bark. A soft and smooth white commercial clay was used for surface decoration and colour.
Kate Fitzharris lives in Dunedin and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic School of Art in 1996. She has since exhibited her ceramics throughout New Zealand and has work in both private and public collections. The Stillness of Movement was made with the assistance of Creative New Zealand.