A letter to Sandy with many thanks!!
It’s easy to understand why many aspiring artists over the years have moved to St Ives. This treasure of a town gives many inspiration, derived surely from the very nature of the location itself. St Ives town centre is heaving with galleries such as Barbara Hepworth’s home, Tate St Ives, New craftsman, Leach Pottery and many more.
Many artists have been, and still are, inspired by the coast, beaches and the sea that rages underneath the still clear blue sky. The light which is present at this location is truly special seeming to stick to all and make bright everything.
An example of which are the works of Jack Doherty, the colours appear as if liquified on the surfaces of his ceramic outcomes, which take you straight to the sea, as if from a distant memory.
Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures capture landscapes and feelings she had of her family, both her house and garden appear to represent a place of both sanctuary and peace.
Whilst St Ives is known as a tourist destination for its beaches and history, more people are likely to continue visiting because of the resident artists. St Ives in a way exists outside of the world of technology, of cityscapes it is a place of contemplation, joy and light, so much light! The shops hold on to this personality and creativity which makes this a place of the “people’s creative core”. Craftspeople, artists and designers alike would travel here to find an acceleration of their inner feelings and thoughts, which are then, transformed creating a spectacle of beauty.
The Studio and gallery of Sandy Brown is situated in Appledore about 20 minutes from St Ives, (a town which has its own train station and bus routes). Visiting her studio allowed an insight into the studio life of a celebrated and contemporary ceramic artist. The studio and gallery is based in a large building which has a vast open space to work in and a bright airy gallery.
It was very organised, and comprised of a studio which is decompartmentalised into sections of different processes. These areas included tilemaking and slab building, throwing, glazing, reclamation and cleaning. With an airy, high ceilinged, bright gallery upstairs which allowed natural light through large windows overlooking the sea and bay beneath. Here she is displaying her amazing and varied bright coloured works.
Commission based, Sandy has many ventures under her belt, from tiles and dinner settings to her own interpretation of a temple made from ceramic tiles which may represent the comfort she feels from where she lives and from within the building. When asked how she finds her work she mentioned that she networks. With more artists using social media and the internet to develop and maintain relationships, artists all over the world can collaborate with each other, without having to meet, therefore ever changing artists practices.
Sandy gave us a tour of her studio and gallery, telling us of an adventure which she undertook, stating that she had gone on a road trip in a campervan from England overland and eventually was to receive training in Japan. She talked about the different influences that inform her work and stated that she does not pre-design or think about her work beforehand. She mentions finding an inner calm, and an inner-peace with herself where she can find a “oneness” with the material, this enables her to become uninhibited by process and predefined outcome.
Basically she “centres herself” and just begins making, creating various pieces of work ”wondering” where they may take her. She allows both colour and pattern to speak, and in doing so, by not over-controlling the outcome she allows her pieces to find their own voices. She has a friendly, nature which emanates from her work, creating a playful atmosphere for all to behold. Sandy is a seriously creative woman, passionate and has real drive. Her work is expressive and yet abstract, simplistically playful but never naïve.
Thank you Sandy for your hospitality…
BA (Hons) Ceramics
Cardiff Metropolitan University