Yasmin Smith, Australian Ceramics Triennial, Tasmania, 2019 | Australian Ceramics Triennial, Tasmania, 2019

Yasmin Smith created Lower Pieman on residency in Tasmania for the 2019 Australian Ceramics Triennale. It centres on the flooded forests of the Lake Pieman Hydroelectric Scheme on Tasmania’s West Coast. Flooded in the 1980s, ancient forests of celery top pine (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius), Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), Tasmanian oak (E. obliqua), myrtle (Nothofagus cunninghamii), blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) and sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) remain beneath the surface of the lake as a radically-altered ecosystem.

The combination of extremely low water temperature, low light levels due to the black tannin rich waters and the replacement of the trees’ sap with water, has preserved the forest timbers in suspension. Through the production of wood ash glazes and ceramic forms made from the remains of these flooded forests, Smith’s investigation presents a record of this grand scale human intervention into nature at the point at which carbon, hydrogen and oxygen cycle though the ecosystem as water and wood.