Molding Charlotte’s Art Scene

Categories: ASC, Blog, Cultural Partners

By Amy Bareham
Cultural & Community Investment Intern

To those of you who chose the math or science track and feel condemned to an un-artsy existence, find hope in Amy Sanders, a potter selected for the Arts & Science Council’s Community Supported Art program.

Originally at school for biology, Sanders took a ceramics class during her sophomore year and caught the art bug. She went on to receive a BA in art and a certification in secondary education.

After serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two years with Habitat for Humanity, Sanders and her husband settled. A lack of studio space meant that she took a brief hiatus from pottery, sewing for a while instead. When she returned to the ceramics scene, Sanders was trading labor for space at Clayworks. Teaching lessons provided access to art.

These mugs bear Amy Sanders’ individual appliques.
These mugs bear Amy Sanders’ individual appliques.

“The chunk of time that I was sewing for my creative outlet started breathing life into my ceramics,” Sanders said. Essentially, texture, trim and color from the sewing days imprint themselves in her clay pieces and give depth to each surface.

Sanders makes these pieces in a studio she and her husband constructed in the backyard, a place where she can experiment with pattern and shape. Because Sanders has two young boys, she works primarily at night to remain active in the clay field, although she still continues to teach.

“I love…inspiring other people…keeping my feet wet in the art community without having to produce a lot of work,” she said.

How does a potter with kids on the run protect her creative time?

By combining efficiency and talent and using hand-made stamps in the design process. Sanders does this using small pieces of bisque fired clay (the kind of firing that makes the clay hard, pre-glaze). Using stamps “gives me a visual vocabulary,” she said. “I’m getting texture that is personal and does have meaning.”

Furthermore, the space between the designs “becomes really interesting as well.” Stamps alleviate the pressure of Sanders having to draw a pattern, but still provide a sense of intricacy.

Right now, Sanders is playing with molds, trying to mark both the inside and the outside of pieces.

“I’m a more is more gal,” she explained, adding that she ultimately wants buyers to discover more on the item after their initial first-glance.

For the CSA program, she is delivering 50 serving bowls. These are the perfect size for individual use (read: one

Amy Sanders has found her niche combining functionality with art as seen here.
Amy Sanders has found her niche combining functionality with art as seen here.

incredibly hearty bowl of soup), or can be used as side dishes. They’re dishwasher safe and will feature appliques that Sanders stamps into thin clay and then attaches.

Said Sanders: “I love the idea of having something beautiful that’s also functional…things from your life bleed into your art so often.”

Clay is a friendly medium anyway, but bowls make art even more approachable because everybody eats therefore everybody needs something from which to eat. CSA shareholders dig out your cook books and prepare for your little piece of Amy Sanders – coming soon!

Click here to view more of Amy’s work.