Sandy is best described as a potters potter. She is renowned as one of Australia's leading 'wood fire' potters which she has been recognised for both in Australia and around the world. For those of you who are not familiar with the skills and techniques of ceramics - wood firing is by all measures the most demanding. On a degree of difficulty from 1-10 - wood firing would definitely be a 10!!
She has been a full-time ceramist since 1980 as well as a part time teacher since that time. She has taught, exhibited and presented workshops in Australia, UK, Taiwan, France, Japan, and the USA and exhibited in many more countries, including The Netherlands, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Hungary and Denmark. She is extremely well known and highly regarded in the Ceramics world both within Australia and around the world.
Her work has always been focused on pushing the boundaries of the clay medium. As part of this process she has designed and built her own wood firing kilns to make sure that they are the very best they can be. She was, and still is, driven by curiosity to see what happens when she plays creatively with and fire. In ancient times ALL pots were fired using wood. Today most potters work with electric or gas fired kilns, so she is one of just a few clay makers in Australia who continue in this tradition, despite the fact that it is very labour intensive and that many pieces from each firing have to be discarded. Sandy does it this way, because it is the only way she can achieve the results she is striving for. The wood fired kiln provides surprises that can’t be planned for or predicted. There are both subtle and dramatic variations of colour and texture on every surface on every pot in the kiln. This enables her to produce work with an elusive, unique and elemental beauty.
Sandy enjoys making pots for everyday use. She uses her own pots at home and discovers new ideas that encourage the next step in making. She wants the tableware she makes to give pleasure to the people who buy it every day. “I hope these pots become your lifelong friends. My way of making and firing allows for a story to be told by each piece. The story includes the gesture and movement of the wet clay on the wheel under my hand, and the unpredictable action of the kiln to produce the many colours and textures that come together in a unique way for every individual piece.
We are very fortunate to have her join us for the inaugural Claymakers Sydney Expo. She will have a range of tableware on display and for sale as well as a few of her very special sculptural pieces.
- Carole Whitmore