Ceramist based in Sussex, England Helene burgess says, “Animals rule ok,” and we can’t argue with that. With the aim of celebrating all the strange and wonderful creatures in our world, she recreates animals in clay. Burgess’ business, nosy mungo, is named after what her mother called her when she was a child if she was “a little too curious”, and the artist has never lost her childish curiosity. His playful sense of wonder shines through in his work today. Each lovingly made creature looks like a character from a children’s book that you can hold in your hands.
As a child, Burgess spent most of her time either immersed in an art project or outdoors, exploring nature. “My favorite things on TV were the David Attenborough documentaries and everything from Aardman,” she reveals. “I was convinced I was going to be the next Nick Park.” These influences helped shape the distinct aesthetic that Burgess captures in his clay animals. Each character has their own wacky personality, complemented by funny cartoon expressions. There’s a cranky, puffy frog, a hilarious blobfish, and a group of surprised-looking chickens. Some animals are even designed to hold flowers or plants.
While each piece is like a caricature of its real-life counterpart, Burgess maintains a great deal of love and respect for the animals that she recreates in clay. Her love of nature developed in college, when she studied for a master’s degree in the study of biodiversity. The artist said: “This ultimately led to some amazing work at Sussex Wildlife Trust where I deal with biodiversity data and the geek side of nature conservation.
Burgess discovered clay in 2010, when the onset of a disease called fibromyalgia forced her to work fewer hours. “I needed another goal and clay was the answer,” she recalls. “After several pottery lessons I got hooked and what started out as a hobby quickly turned into a business when people liked my work enough to want to buy it. “
Since then, Burgess has continued to work part-time to make his ceramic creatures. Each takes countless hours to design, sculpt, bake and polish, so she can only do a small batch at a time. If you’d like one of these clay creatures for your home, keep an eye out for Burgess’ Etsy store for new versions. Discover some of his achievements below.
Helen Burgess (from nosy mungo) handcraft playful ceramic creatures.
Each clay creature looks like a character from a children’s book that you can hold in your hands.
My Modern Met has granted permission to feature images of Helen Burgess / nosy mungo.
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