Decorator Urchins Series

Decorator Urchin by Dawn Yoshimura
Cobalt oxide decorator urchins fired at cone 10

This series are handbuilt clay forms of high fire clay using oxides. A few are also fired at cone 05 which are the more colorful ones.

Each piece is unique just as each individual is unique based on their life experiences, circumstances and self-determination. Just as a group of similar forms may appear to another species as indistinguishable, I love decorator urchins for their spunky character, lack of fashion sense, unpretentious earnestness, and hard working character.

Decorator urchins can be found on sandy bottoms, they have short spines which makes them easy to pickup with your bare hands. They gather debris along the bottom and place them on top, like a haku lei upon their heads and continue on their way. Over the years, I’ve seen it all displayed proudly, limu, coral debris, shells, bandaids, candy wrappers, but no diamond ring (yet).

I imagine what each urchin might have found while passing through a stretch of sand, following a treasure ship who gave her cargo to the sea. Each piece has a coin stamped with my name, in old Japanese, coming from a minted coin from a long lost realm.

In addition, each form has its own voice, I place small balls of clay inside that give it a distinct tone.

My hand built forms are not anatomically correct, they are more portraits of individuals travelling singularly or in groups. My dream is to see them installed at points of departure or return of immigrants who have travelled Oceania and invite connection through the telling of tales at a gathering of seemingly identical individuals.