Harrogate artist wins global followers after creating one beetle each day in stunning porcelain

Harrogate artist Anna Whitehouse has engaged with more than 2,000 people worldwide, and closer to home, to help her sculpt a beetle a day for 100 days.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 5:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 5:21 pm
Artist Anna Whitehouse at her studio in Harrogate.  (Photo by Anna Whitehouse)
Artist Anna Whitehouse at her studio in Harrogate. (Photo by Anna Whitehouse)

The creative challenge has seen her world-wide followers from Australia, Canada, USA, Singapore, Spain, The Netherlands, as well as more locally from Studley Royal and Malham, take part.

Textures and patterns from their local surroundings have been sent to Anna to inspire her creation of one ceramic beetle sculpture per day for 100 days. Anna names each Beetle after the location that inspired each sculpture.

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Harrogate artist Anna Whitehouse's ceramic Beetles. (Photo by Anna Whitehouse)

Anna’s aim is to highlight insects as objects of beauty, vital to the health of ecosystems globally.

Anna said: “Insects have a bad reputation as being ugly, unloved and even despised or feared. Beetles and their fellow insects have evolved in all habitats imaginable.

"They represent more than half of all known living organisms on earth. The diversity of their forms, colours, patterns and appendages are breath-taking, and, for an artist, incredibly inspirational.”

Anna added, “Nature has always inspired art, but I’m keen to get people to re-evaluate their relationship with insects and see their beauty and value.

"As well as challenging my own creative skills, I hope that the project will encourage people to get out to explore their local area, and think about how they can appreciate insects and their habitats, and in turn help protect these extraordinary creatures.”

Anna started making one Beetle a day on January 1. Using a four-part mould, she makes one ceramic blank canvas per day, exploring the colours, textures and structures to use sent via social media followers that day.

Anna has chosen to work in porcelain to mirror the fragility of our ecosystems.

She said, “We should handle our eco-systems with as much reverence and care as a fine porcelain vase, handed down generation to generation.”

“Insects don’t make good press, except cute and fluffy bumblebees! I want to throw the spotlight on the fact that Beetles can be incredibly beautiful and are so important to life on earth, without insects our eco-systems – and in turn human life - would collapse. It is the small things that run the world!”

Anna Whitehouse is the Project Manager of North Yorkshire Open Studios, an artist-run collective, where 108 North Yorkshire artists fling open their studio doors to the general public in the first two weekends of June for the biggest open studio event in the UK.

To follow Anna’s Beetle project, go to @annawhitehouseceramics on Instagram or go to www.anna-whitehouse.co.uk

For more on North Yorkshire Open Studios this June, visit https://www.nyos.org.uk