Sarah has exhibited at Pangolin London, at the Red Gallery, the Brick Lane Gallery, the Society of Designer Craftsmen and in a solo show in their Shoreditch Gallery, together with taking part in the London Design Festival.
The inescapable figure: Sarah’s work focuses on the figure, both in the abstract forms permitted in functional pottery and through figurative ‘gesture’ sculptures.
She first began to make with clay following a major accident in her later 20s (2004) and through attending courses with Sandy Brown at her studio in Appledore in Devon. Sarah studied ceramics at Central St Martins College of Art and Design and works from her studio in Barnet, Hertfordshire. Having spent a number of years working with low fired earthenware, exploring its semi-porous qualities, she now works with high fired vitreous ceramics (fired to stoneware, 1260°C). She is interested in the expressive possibilities available in clay and moving to stoneware has given this a sense of immediacy. When throwing, she works with softish clay, throwing on a slow-turning Leach Wheel, then applying a layer of white slip to release the grey body, allowing for vibrant colours to be applied.
“There is a preoccupation in my work with the immanence of the feminine and the results, or lessons, of that experience. Each piece is a meditation on this emergent experience.”
Making functional pottery is the making of domestic space. Questions regarding the role of women in domestic space are implicit in the apparently defiant functional ware Sarah creates. The work acts in relation to that space. In a global culture where women are simultaneously ‘at work’ and ‘at home’ this aspect of her work touches on themes of craft, care, nurture, work, labour and sustainability.
Sarah is noted for her ‘gesture’ figures, roughly textured and often boldly formed sculptures. Having suffered major burn trauma in a gas explosion in her twenties, these injuries continue to be accommodated in Sarah’s daily life. The stages of creating ceramic from clay is a process that innately references recovery from a major burn. The practice of “making first” allows the work to emerge from a place of not-knowing, beginning to materialise as making continues.
Survival of major trauma is more frequent than it once was; these experiences are deeply felt but attract a dialogue that is often desensitised, oversimplified and poorly articulated. Sarah’s figurative sculpture touches on notions of youth, age, loss, knowledge, wisdom, beauty, archetype and survival and seeks to initiate a language that articulates and integrates the complexity of experience from which it emerges.