I learnt of Singaporean ceramic leaf artist, Davy Young, through my father, who was once classmates with him. My dad shared about him with me, and I was enamoured by his nature-inspired ceramic artwork but also the story behind him starting Leaves with Memories.
In his 50s, Davy discovered his passion for making ceramic leaves after seeing it in a magazine. He got in touch with the artist, Judy Brown, and through her guidance, he learned how to make it himself. After taking classes at a community centre, he eventually invested in his own tools and an electric kiln. He makes his artworks at home, mostly pendants, chopstick rests, and plates. These works are functional as well as ornamental.
He creates these ceramic pieces using real leaves taken from his or his friends’ gardens, or they are wild foraged. He does not use leaves that have fallen on the ground because it is likely to have started to dry up and turn brittle. Some leaves he has used include frangipani, fig, bodhi, bauhinia, water lily and wood nettle, with grape leaves being his favourite. He has also used leaves of reeds to make pendants.
Finding an unblemished leaf requires effort, he says that he can look through 100 leaves only to find three to four suitable ones. Some qualities he looks for include a prominent vein structure, interesting shapes, it has to be able to be laid flat, and it can’t be too large as it has to be small enough to fit in his kiln. Once he selects his leaves, he needs to get it home safely and keep it fresh and supple till he traces its outline on clay, usually within 48 hours. For his artworks, he uses fine clay from Australia.
Other than leaves, Davy also crafts realistic wood-like sculptures out of clay. Aren’t these absolutely beautiful?
He occasionally participates in pop up markets around Singapore. To contact ceramic leaf artist Davy Young or be updated on upcoming events, find him at his Facebook page — Leaves with Memories, or Whatsapp him directly at +65 9731 2838.
If you enjoyed this story, you may also like reading about another Singaporean artist who works with leaves — Agy Textile Artist, who uses natural plant dyes as part of her textile art.
Photo credit: Featured photo courtesy of Davy Young.