Sarah Burton produces decorative ceramic vessels using traditional pottery techniques: hand building with coils and slabs of clay, and throwing on a potter’s wheel. Making one-off pieces from stoneware clay, Sarah adds texture and colour, drawing from patterns found in nature, especially coastal landscapes. She applies a simple palette of no more than three glazes to each piece, using her skill to ensure these will combine during firing to produce more colours.
In response to the challenges of the last 18 months, Sarah slowed her approach to pottery. Taking a break from working on the wheel and producing numerous small pieces, she went back to her love of slow-making: creating one-off large coiled vessels, embracing how they may take weeks to make. She’s enjoying the contemplative process of where to add each coil; deciding on each pot’s contours as it grows; patiently waiting for sections to dry to give enough structural integrity for the next phase of making.
There are many ways to make ceramic objects, and after 40 years of making Sarah is still excited at the moment of opening the kiln, to see if each pot has come out as expected. Has it cracked? Has the glaze worked? Has she produced something totally unexpected… and beautiful? Sarah says, “Great craft is the combination of applying skill with function and form. to produce something beautiful and unique that someone would enjoy in their home.”
Sarah is based in Nottinghamshire and joined Design-Nation in 2012.