Sara Swink ... My Life in Clay
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I make human and animal clay figures with a psychological stance and a humorous edge. They have to do with ideas about the dangers of domestication and the loss of the instinctual; the insatiability of the human animal; ways we relate to nature and to our own natures; and challenges and idiosyncrasies in relationships. These themes operate on an individual, personal level and well as a universal one; in many ways I consider them essentially feminist issues.

I take an intuitive approach to cultivating ideas for pieces. I set the stage for the unconscious to offer up images that are personal, universal, emotional, psychological, or archetypal by doing collage, sketching and doodling on paper and in clay, and reading esoteric material. I go with my impulses when they’re sufficiently strong to bring an image into clay. I like my work to look handmade, emotionally expressive and accessible. I form with a gritty sculpture clay, incise into the clay, bisque fire, finish with oxide washes, underglazes and glazes, and fire to cone 5.

I have loved clay since childhood, and after leaving it behind for many years, returned first to the potter’s wheel and then to process-oriented sculpture. For a number of years I took private classes with Coeleen Kiebert that supported my preference to work with the clay in an introspective way, while at the same time pursuing my academic art education at Foothill College, San Jose State University, and San Francisco State University. I taught at a number of California venues and in my own studio, while participating in regional shows. In 2006, I moved to the Portland, Oregon area, where I established Clay Circle Studio and continue to show and teach.

You can see my work at galleries and at events listed under "Happenings" and "Links".

All photos on this site by Harold Oxley.