SB: Other than a 4 year stint as a secondary art teacher and some time in the Kimberley when I had limited access to kilns, I have always worked with clay. Most of this time I have used the pottery wheel to make functional tableware. It is in recent years that I worked totally ‘handmade’.
S: What does a typical day at work involve for you?
SB: I like to focus on a series of making forms at the beginning of the day as it is quite taxing on arms, hands and back then I like to do the more relaxed painting.
S: Where do you create most of your work?
SB: I work in a farmer's tin shed in the middle of a grassy paddock with cows near the small town near where I live.
S: What materials do you most enjoy using and why?
SB: At the moment I am using a lower fired porcelain called Cool Ice. For the small vessels I make the fine nature of this clay enables refined forms and edges. I am also enjoying using a limited palette of oxides.
S: What processes do you go through to get to the finished piece?
SB: I work on a series of about 3 pieces at a time, gradually forming the vessels from a ball of clay letting the clay dry a little to then complete the form. The piece then dries and is gently sponged over. When bone dry I paint the elemental oxide motifs. The pieces are then once fired. I lightly sand with wet and dry emery papers to get a really smooth surface. After this the dragonfly decals are then adhered to the pieces and they are refired.
S: You frequently use the image of the dragonfly in your work, what significance does this symbol hold for you?
SB: It is more a of visual and spacial interest than a symbolic one. I have liked the idea of having fine lines on ceramic, but of course I am always happy to see dragonflies flying free.
S: When starting a new body of work, where do you turn for inspiration and ideas?
SB: I rarely start a new body of work that is not somehow connected with what has gone before. I am usually inspired by the nature of the material I use and my work slowly moves to the next phase. If I have travelled and drawn or radically changed work environment this may initiate new work.
S: What are your future plans for Sandra Bowkett pottery pieces?
SB: I am thinking of returning to the wheel in collaboration with some Indian potters to make a range of simple woodfired drinking vessels and bowls. This is in the realm of dream at the moment.