Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Meet Your Maker: Sandra Bowkett

S: Tell us a little bit about your background. What path has led you to what you do now? 

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.

Thanks Sandra! More images of Sandra's work can be found on her website.You can purchase Sandra's current range of handmade vessels at Stockroom