My latest ceramic work reflects my passion for the preservation of the earth. With this current series, I focus on what is happening in our oceans, particularly to the coral reef. By showing the process of decay of the coral reefs, I offer an opportunity to discuss what the corals are facing and how we can make a difference.
The corals that make up the reefs are dying at an alarming rate. Rising water temperatures due to global warming play the largest role in coral bleaching. Other things that cause the decay of the corals are pollution, illegal fishing techniques, damage from tourists, boating, and changes in the acidity of the ocean waters.
My latest piece reflects the color changes in the corals as they go through liveliness, a stressed state, and become bleached. These shifts in saturation and color are read left-to-right in three panels. The first panel reflects the coral in its thriving state, where I have used vibrant colors to mimic the coral I have seen. There is an obvious shift in the colors expressed in the second panel. When the coral is diseased or stressed in begins to turn beige or brown with algae. The color is not as saturated and begins to fade. It can start to bleach by turning lighter colors, often light pink. During the final stage of life, the coral begins to expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. This is represented in the final panel. In the end, what is left is bleached coral, which, in time, might be all that is left for future generations.
However, there is hope. A recent study has shown that during the beginning stages of coral bleaching, there is a window of time where the coral can be brought back. By reducing our carbon footprint and not supporting industries that contribute to global warming, we can slow down the deterioration of the reef and hopefully bring back some of what we have lost.