Friday, September 9

Featured Artist Friday with Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall grew up in British Columbia and has lived and worked in Portland, Oregon for 25 years. For much of this time she has been studying human movement and designing mechanical parts for stop motion animated film as a stage rigger and armature builder. Her objects, whether they are functional, figurative or made for interactive installation, almost always play with mechanics or metaphors of motion and light.

For more than a decade, Sarah has hand built enough one-of-a-kind figurative candleholders to populate a small town. Many of these have found ver special places in the homes of people who use them as totems, in shrines and for illumination.

iLoveToCreate was lucky enough to have Sarah design a sculpture piece titled "The Draco Ra of Jasper Spry" for the 2011 Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association (CCSA) Convention Auction benefiting the Vera Bradley Foundation. Here's a view of this mythical piece.

We caught up with Sarah and asked her a few questions about her life, work, and artist style. Enjoy!

How would you describe your artistic style?
Exploratory, hands on and material based. I think a lot about what is important to me in art. But when it comes to designing a sculpture, it most often just appear in my head as an image completely formed. My work is to replicate what is in my head to the best of my ability.

When you look around your studio, what’s the one thing you absolutely cannot do without?
For clay sculpture, my glaze tests! Years ago I found a Tupperware lid with a star shape embossed on it. I use this to press the glaze test tiles. After many years, I have a few hundred uniform finished ones, each with a different glaze. I use them for color reference when glazing.

What do you love about your creative space?
I built my studio with another person about 7 years ago. We put it in my garden so when I look out the tall windows I see four seasons quietly unfold in the middle of a bustling city.

If you could change anything, what would you change (about the art world)?
I would wish for art, architecture, and design in this country to become integral parts of our everyday experience. When I've traveled to India, Andalusia, and Argentina I felt the saturation of creative genius filling everyday objects and spaces around me.

I saw this on animals in the form of adornment (tamarind and bells on cows in Mysore), in daily ritual of welcoming guests by early morning decorating of entry ways with chalk (Rangole practice throughout India), in cemeteries whose architecture form a frozen city bejeweled with remembrance of the much loved (La Recoleta in Argentina), in the color and order of each stall and its owner at the market place (throughout Medina of Fez), in park designs whose sculpture is seamlessly integrated (like the skate park in Quito), and sometimes even just way the people walk down the street (in Buenos Aires!).

I'm speaking about an aliveness that is felt, and that adds significantly to the quality of life by entering our sense and influencing our thoughts and feelings.
Its starts in the small things like the color I paint my door, and the way I set the table.

What do you listen to when you’re working on your pieces? What keeps you going into the wee hours?
I work best in the wee hours. 2am is prime time!

Books on CD: Indu Sundaresan, Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy, Haruki Murakami, Alexander McCall Smith, Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Doria Russel, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Bradley. Pod-casts: The Moth, Radiolab, and This American Life.

Good old fashioned music-music: Chopin, Mozart, Bach, Imogen Heap, Kate Bush, Sia, Laurie Anderson, 3 Leg Torso, Jami Sieber.
Argentine Tango Composers: Francisco Canaro, Orquesta Tipica Victor, Ricardo Tanturi, Miguel Calo, Osvaldo Pugliese, Juan D'Arienzo, Lucio Demare, Gustavo Santaolallo and Bajofondo Tango Club

We have a lot of creative people just finding their creative wings in our iLoveToCreate community….what advice would you give our beginners?

It helps me to be clear on what my daily goals are.
Making art, and making a living at it require very different skills and types of activity.

I really like what Chogyam Trungpa has to say about the creative process:

“When we are actually creating a work of art there is a sense of total confidence. Our message is simply one of appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle or thoughts and fears. We give up aggression, both towards ourselves, that we have to make a special effort to impress people, and towards others, that we can pull something over them. Genuine art - dharma art - is the simple act of non-aggression.”

Thanks Sarah for your artistic insight and for inspiring us with your talent.

Here's more examples of Sarah's amazing pieces. See more examples of her artwork at her web site Sarah Hall Studios.

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