I feel privileged to be able to work with the magical elements of earth, fire and water. To be instrumental in the transformation of these elements into vessels which could endure for centuries is a responsibility that influences my work.
Working out of her studio in Purcell’s Cove, NS, Sally brings the cultural traditions of Europe, Asia, Africa and Nova Scotia in her craft. Waves on the shore, grass blown by the wind and undulating fields of kelp are some of the designs in nature that influence her creations. She uses six different clays and more than fifteen hand-mixed glazes in order to find the variety and depth in texture, form and colour she seeks. Sally’s work has been exhibited across Canada, the US, Europe and Japan.
The clay on the wheel becomes for me a metaphor of life, of breath, of movement. As I centre myself with it, the attention for a moment is focused on the still place on the spinning clay--does it correspond with a still place in myself? If it does correspond, even a little, the next step--to open, enlarge, pull the walls to their required height in perfect balance, perfect harmony--becomes possible. Yet, gradually one must pull the moving clay from a place farther away from the centre, less aided by the firmness, one involuntarily hl's the breath and the result is tight, forced. A lighter touch is needed, a gesture of both discipline and freedom. Now, to shape and swell the cylinder of clay to the grace of its final form asks for an even lighter yet strong contact. A moment of rigidity, a painfully tense focus, a forced attention, and the piece is dead. The clay never lies--at least not to the potter!
So I repeat. Throw, centre, open, pull, shape--I repeat--a thousand times, a million breaths. Eventually each cup or bowl becomes more quick, more fresh, more economical, more elegant. then, without my noticing a loss, the interest fades, attention wanes, repetition seems endless, and the result becomes dull. I try to renew, to find the rhythm again, to be more centred in myself as the clay is centred--and freshness returns. Ebb, flow, like the ocean waves on the shore--trying not to be like the stones that are tossed up, pulled back, tossed up again.
माटी कहे कुम्हार से, तू क्या रोंधे मोहे |
एक दिन ऐसा आयेगा, में रोंधुगी तोहे ||
Maati kahe kumhar se, tu kya rondhe mohe
Ek din aisa aayega, mein rondhugi tohe
The earth says to the potter, “Why are you trampling on me now?”
One day will come when I will trample on you. - Kabir (1440~1518)