Sarah Walton found herself studying Ceramics after setting out to be a painter. In this month’s post she describes the influences that changed her direction, while leaving all the sensibilities of a fine artist evident in her work. The video perfectly encapsulates the quiet reflectiveness and love of landscape that give her birdbaths and larger sculptural pieces their stillness and poise.
I had an art teacher at school, a Pole (who had survived WW2 and a Russian
gulag) who said to me “Go and look at great Art.” In my teens I prowled the London museums and became familiar with a lot of European painting. After that I was a nurse for 5 1/2 years and looked at three dimensional work in the British Museum nearby. It was seeing ceramics and sculpture in the Musee Guimet in Paris that got me onto the studio pottery course at Harrow .
By the end of the four years studying Painting I had lost my way (though I certainly couldn’t admit that to myself at the time.) Losing one of my brothers at the same time had a part in making me a nurse. Now in retrospect I think that touching people as a nurse led me to 3 dimensional work. When I then attended the Harrow Studio Pottery course I think I imagined that since I’d failed at Fine Art I might nevertheless succeed at making pots.
A big factor in moving up in scale, that is my progression to birdbaths, has been making things that are illuminated by the play of natural light (the outdoors.) Landscape was what I had walked, drawn and painted from childhood till my mid 20’s . Landscape painters and landscape photography have been what I’ve looked at a lot.
In recent years my birdbaths have bought me time to explore abstract sculptural work. I find the prospect, at my age, of finding new gallery contacts somewhat daunting. This year, after some years of being too frightened to go, I went as a visitor to the London Art Fair called ‘Frieze.’ Coverage in my weekly paper had got me sufficiently interested in something specific to want to go. I searched out that, found it very interesting, and then found the stands of 3 galleries I knew of but had been too scared to visit. That was very interesting too. I thought I wouldn’t bother with the rest of the razzmatazz. The following day my legs ached from having walked on hard pavements all day.