Sarah McLeary

Ceramics and Architecture

Onwards and Upwards







Before Christmas, our building St Margaret’s House held a sale of residents’ work in the Gallery. It was a huge success! Foolishly, I had put some mugs into the sale thinking that they could act as advertisements for my custom mug enterprise, and the ones that didn’t sell would become Christmas presents. All of my mugs sold, and not only to my mum! I was amazed and delighted, it has given me a great boost and a feeling that I’m not just working away in a vacuum, and that what I’m making is appealing to quite a few people.

It can be hard when you’re making things to ‘please yourself’; in my day job I’m always working in a group, each person with their own biases and their own agendas, so I’m using a totally different set of skills when I’m making pots. I have learned this year that if you stay true to what you enjoy doing, that comes out in the work. It doesn’t have to necessarily be meticulous – I’m no good at perfection – but the joy in the work hopefully shines through.


The new technique I have been enjoying is the brushed slip. I really love doing inlaid slip but it is time consuming! The brushwork and sgraffito allows me to be more free and spontaneous. I do still love geometric patterns though.


I really like being able to layer the surface.


I was able to make this collage of my pots in photos taken by my friends, which makes me so happy! The top left is a commission for Heather, who asked for a knitting theme, so I did different knitting stitches around the central band. I did think about trying to use actual knitting as a texture, but I have actually tried that before with disastrous results! The bottom right is one of four green tea cups I made for my aunt, ‘inspired by’ the ones she likes at Wagamamas, but nothing like them really!

These collages have already been put on Instagram, which I’ve only just started using. I’m addicted, it’s a great way to see other potters’ work and I especially like the videos various makers upload. Soothing throwing videos of big bowls are great!


Some of my splashback tiles for my kitchen… which I still have not photographed properly, as it is so small you can’t really get the effect! That’s my excuse anyway. The splashback was finished late in the year, and I love it!


I had business cards printed late in the year, I think they look lovely, they were made by moocards.


… and finally, in December my friend Phil thought he’d like to have a go on the wheel, having never touched clay before, so I remembered how I had been taught by my friend, and showed Phil such gems as ‘feel the squish’, which is when your pot goes wrong and flies everywhere, you grab it off the wheel, squish the clay between your fingers and let the oozing sensation soothe the pain of losing the pot … so zen!


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This entry was posted on January 5, 2016 by in pottery, various makey things.
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