St Ives’ potter Sarah Dunstan has achieved international acclaim for her unique, slab built work. In 2012 Sarah was elected Fellow of the Craft Potters Association. This was in recognition of her contribution to contemporary ceramics. On completing a degree in ceramics at Cardiff, Sarah returned to her native Cornwall. Sarah established her first pottery in 1993 and has been a professional potter ever since. In 2002 she moved to the Gaolyard Studios, founded by Leach potter John Bedding. She offer’s established potters individual studio spaces within a vibrant creative hub. Here she produces her distinctive, highly decorative ceramics. They are instantly recognisable for their rich velvety colours and intricate, hand cut porcelain overlays.
Sarah’s Work explained
Based in St Ives, Sarah’s beautiful, unique ceramic works are inspired by her own visual scrap book. “I collect images, such as the shape of the railing from a hidden doorway in St Ives or an antique glass bottle.” Sarah is also inspired by her natural surroundings. Depicting delicate lines and floral details in her work. “In my work I explore ideas around the half-forgotten memories and images that persist from childhood perhaps a vintage wallpaper, the stylised narrative of my Mother’s Willow Pattern plates, or the familiar shape of an opened sardine tin. My aim is to bring these elements together in a finished piece to combine a gentle nostalgia with the absolute, archival permanence of the ceramic medium.”
Using flat sheets of stoneware clay as a canvas, Sarah then paints the surface with coloured slips. Then applies intricate ‘fretwork’ patterns, individually carved from a thin layer of porcelain. No stencils are used, Instead every design is hand drawn, then hand cut from the porcelain sheet. They are then transferred to the prepared slab in a unique process Sarah has perfected over many years. The decorated sheets are assembled to create the finished form. Joins are left as raw seams and the surface is treated to create the final distinctive patina. Sarah’s ceramics are then bisque fired, with a variety of glazes and beautifully coloured slips. This gives give her work a contemporary, striking and instantly recognisable appearance.
We purchased this piece from Gaolyard Studios in St Ives Cornwall. We have some more somewhere, I will have to dig them out. I think they are in storage somewhere, we tend to swap some pieces around now and again.
Visit Sarah Dunstan’s Website http://www.sarahdunstan.co.uk/