Immersed in greens
Water forming murky pools
there once was a
Swamp. At dawn-break, sparkling dew cloaks the landscape. Down in the pit of Santo Stefano di Camastra
the chimneys of the ceramic manufacturers
blow hot smoke in the atmosphere.
Inside tinkling furnaces
wet clay turns red
and tiles emerge. Forming Swamp seats,
their rugged surface glazed,
as layer after layer of enamel
washes over stencilled patterns.
Elevated on steel frames
the water has been taken out of its bed. Staring into the dark depths,
ambiguous life-forms
bubble up to the surface.
Floating glistening details,
amphibians’ wet membranes
brushing past skin underwater. A Swamp that subsumes
and transforms shapes.
Bloomsbury squares

spill into Charleston’s oval pond. With the flutter of wings
a lullaby penetrates the mist,
chiselled soft samba wood
and irridescent ridges
echo silver craggy masses. A small amber vessel
carries Pearl into the night.
Tired and bleary-eyed,
the river blurs and shimmers
all around.
She keeps her secret safe
from the hunter
and sings softly:
‘there was a pretty fly’.

Thus closes our journey in Denis Savary’s Swamp. Its Sicilian beginnings are driven northwards by the artist’s residence in London. There, its vegetation grows in J. W. Waterhouse’s Pre-Raphaelite Ophelia. This artistic backdrop nourishes Savary’s ongoing investigation of the collaborative relationship between artist and craftsman, where the mind and hand work together. Each renewed encounter delights, drawing the viewer further into the swamp’s depths.

Dr Claire FitzGerald