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Ghost gum forest brings light to play in art gallery

By Patrick Nelson

Ceramicist Mel Robson … home among the ghost gums Ceramicist Mel Robson … home among the ghost gums

Central Australia’s iconic ghost gums have inspired the latest exhibition in Alice Springs, featuring collaborative works by Charles Darwin University ceramics lecturer Mel Robson.

“Ghost Gums”, a light-sculpture exhibition, comprises a forest of 16 trees made from recycled lamp stands and ceramic leaves, some of which are less than 1mm thick.

Ms Robson said the idea had its genesis in a chance conversation with local designer Elliat Rich about three years ago.

“I had been working with the idea of light and shadow and had been watching how the sun filtered through leaves,” Ms Robson said.

“Elliat had been doing likewise. We realised we were on a similar path and interested in the same sort of thing.”

Ms Robson said it took about two years to acquire the lamp stands, which serve as tree trunks in the forest.

“We found them at auctions and second-hand stores and on eBay,” she said.

“They’re all similar but different and some of them are a little quirky just like a real ghost gum.”

Ms Robson said each of the almost 2000 leaves was unique.

“They are all hand-made and all went through a number of processing stages before being fired in the kiln and polished.”

Ghost Gums is on display at Araluen Arts Gallery until 29 June.