Artist Interviews

Meet Sarah Christensen

Sarah Christensen - Covered Jar
Sarah Christensen – Covered Jar
Please introduce yourself:

I was always encouraged to be an artist, and I always wanted to be one.  I dabbled in lots of mediums as a kid, but not until I touched clay in high school did I really think it could happen. I went to college to blow glass, but after many burns, found clay to be more conducive to how I translated my ideas with my hands.  That was all it took, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

How many years have you been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?

I’ve been a member of Colorado Potters Guild for about 10 years.

Sarah Christensen - Covered Jar
Sarah Christensen – Covered Jar
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?

When I joined the guild, I was desperate to have a place to fire, but otherwise I was fine working in solitude.  I didn’t see at first how enriching it would be to have a group of clay friends to talk shop with.  These days I am constantly grateful for all the enthusiasm, problem solving and fun that being in this group brings.

How many years have your been working with clay?

I’ve been working in clay 25 years.

Do you have a formal education in clay/art or how did you acquire your skills?

I have a bfa in ceramics from Alfred University, which gave me a great base of knowledge to work from.  I think I am still processing all the info I absorbed there. Since graduation I have been more interested in finding my voice in my work, and have chosen to limit my exposure to new techniques and influences. I love seeing what others are doing, but I get easily distracted and overwhelmed with new ideas, and it limits my focus.

Sarah Christensen - Wall Art
Sarah Christensen – Wall Art
How do you work (techniques/glazing/firing methods)?

I like working on lots of projects at once. I throw for part of the day, then switch to handbuilding or sculpting.  I find it is easier on the body to move around, and I don’t get antsy doing the same thing all day.  I throw functional ware in porcelain, handbuild slab pots, make decorative wall hangings, and sometimes make attempts at what I call “real art”, but it’s really just playing in the studio. All my work is very focused on surface decoration. I like simple forms that give me a canvas to use slip, glaze pencils, glaze and stamps, to layer color and image.  Soda firing has always been a part of that process.  It adds that extra magic to a surface, and it is always a surprise.

What does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative is the willingness to listen to yourself, and to put that into the world.

Sarah Christensen - Platter
Sarah Christensen – Platter
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

Clay requires routine, timing is essential, so I feel like it is easy to fall into a ritual of working because the material demands it.

How do you overcome obstacles or difficulties working in clay?

My usual pattern for dealing with obstacles is do it wrong over and over until I’m so irritated with myself that I finally find a better way.  As long as I keep working, I find a way past the hard parts eventually.

Sarah Christensen - Mug
Sarah Christensen – Mug
Do you pursue any themes in your art work?

I’m always thinking about connection in my work.  How are things related, what are the things we all share, are made of?  Pottery can be very intimate, there aren’t many forms of art that people can touch, let alone interact with.  If someone chooses one of my mugs to drink from in a moment of contemplation, comfort or celebration then I have added to that experience for them and a part of me experienced it as well.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m loving Danish midcentury pottery right now. But inspiration is everywhere, all the time.

Sarah Christensen - Pitcher
Sarah Christensen – Pitcher
Where do you see your work progressing over the next year?

I’m working on consistency and narrowing in on what I make.  Although I love to explore new ideas, my goal is to hone in on a body of work that can be taken to galleries or shows, that is still exciting to me, but is marketable as well.

Where can people find your work?

Here, and on my website

My work is at the Boulder Arts and Craft gallery, I’ll be at the Spring Horseshoe Market on May 13, 2017 and of course the Colorado Potters shows. Our next show is May 4-6, 2017.