05 September 2010

The Story of the Fish

On Friday a school of ceramic fish took to the water in the Biodiversity Garden. Here they are, frolicking in the lake...

But I'm jumping ahead in the story. It started with a wish: for a school of colourful fish in the Biodiversity Garden. I wanted a visual reminder that biodiversity includes life in water, not just on land.

And the wish was granted! The Cape Craft and Design Institute appointed Zizamele to make the sculpture.

Below is Toni Burton with a ceramic prototype which was specially made for the project. Toni:
I chose the Clanwilliam Yellowfish because it is endangered and because a concerted effort is being made to conserve it. It occurs in the Western Cape, in the Clanwilliam Dam and Bulshoek Rivers. I thought it would make a great shape, and as it's known to leap out of the water, it would be realistic jumping out of the lake.

A variety of artists from her studio were involved in making the mould and casting the yellowfish, firing, painting, glazing and refiring them at 1180 degrees.

And then someone was required to make the frame. Enter Glenn Adams into the story. After an initial meeting the plan for the stainless steel frame looked like this:

After structural input was given by OvP Associates we could press the green button, and 10 days later the heavy structure was lowered into the water...

Glenn made a pontoon to lighten the load while taking it to the middle of the lake. Clever thinking...

And voila! here they are in habitat. Thank you Glenn and Zizamele!
(and the pea soup water? Needs circulation, in progress)


  1. I like your fish wish. Clever idea to float the frame to its resting position.

  2. Andrew, Marie - thanks. When Toni suggested ceramic for the fish I thought no way! they'll break when kids take potshots at them. But she seems confident the ceramic is so hard, the stones will simply bounce off. I really hope she's right.