Monday, July 8, 2013

Sally Carter, Ceramic Artist

Wheel-thrown & hand built, raku-fired

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the George Washington University at the time when the art program was connected with the Corcoran School of Art and the oil painting classes were held on the top floor of the Corcoran Gallery.  Easels were in a loose circle, professor squeezing in and around, helping by adding brush strokes here and there.  Pigeons circled above, adding their "comments" to us and/or our work.
Wheel thrown, raku fired

The ceramics classes were held in the basement, populated by a rather less gentile group of people -to my mind, as they were always covered in dust and mud and unlike those of us on the top floor, soiled, as it were, by their own choice. That was my opinion of clay work at the time and I wanted nothing to do with that.
Carved unglazed porcelain wall hanging
overall size 12x12

Later a little older and somewhat wiser, I came to appreciate what they did:  art that you could hold, fondle actually-if you wanted, and which seemed much more intimate and accessible to me.  Relocating to Southern Maryland afforded me the opportunity to learn wheel-throwing and hand building and also something about the current aesthetics with regard to clay.  The place was St. Mary's College of Maryland, a beautiful public honors college on the water in St. Mary's City, Maryland.  Some years later, a program funded by the NEA, sent me and other teachers in our county to the University of Maryland for courses to prepare for a learning experience in Japan.  The purpose was to bring a knowledge of Japanese culture back to the public school curricula.  My focus was the history of the tea ceremony and the pottery associated with it.  As a result I was able to teach this subject as a credit course at St. Mary's College, along with the making and firing of tea bowls.  The course concluded with a tea ceremony, complete with whisked green tea in the raku-fired bowls, tatami mats and a sense of peace and beauty.   The art teachers in the public schools used this as a unit in their classes.

Together with my husband, Gene, we operated a wholesale and retail pottery business for quite a few years.  As for an "Artist Statement", I go back to the reason I concentrated on pottery.  I want to make one-of-a-kind pieces, mostly functional, which I hope will give a little more meaning to the things, often mundane, that we do everyday.  I believe it is pleasing to know that this useful object was made from start to finish with thought and care.   

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