Posted by Anna-Marie Young

Can you introduce yourself and describe your work?

My name is Sarah Jones-Morris, I am a ceramic artist based in Yorkshire on the edge of the Pennines, but originally from Wales. I came to Yorkshire 20 years ago and I’m still here...although Wales is still ‘home’.

I make a variety of handbuilt ceramics which are often inspired by a domestic use or purpose.

Where do you work from? What is your studio like?

I work from home. My studio is set up in the conservatory, which is either too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer!! I’m looking forward to some warm spring days...they’re just right! I often work late at night when the kids have gone to bed, so my work sneaks into the house where I work at the kitchen table with the radio on.

 What is your preferred medium and why?

I use different clays depending on what I’m making; porcelain paper clay or earthstone smooth textured stoneware for the lovespoons, the earthstone is much easier to work with. The porcelain can be really frustrating especially when it’s a new bag...very sticky!! But I persevere. If I’m making bigger pots I like to use a heavily grogged crank clay, I love the texture.

What inspired you to start your love spoon collection?

Being from Wales, inspiration has been drawn from my heritage and the welsh tradition of giving hand carved love spoons as a token of love and affection. I also have a collection of spoons of all shapes and styles, there is something comforting in the form of a spoon, the shape of it and the way it can used as a vessel to provide nourishment.

The first spoons that I made were undecorated, I was mainly interested in the form, but then I came across a silver sugar spoon (it’s still in my sugar bowl), which had a simple pattern hammered into the bowl of the spoon. This was the inspiration for the patterning on my ‘lovespoons’ which has developed to now include a heart and the little lovebirds as well as wording.

What is the best present you’ve ever received?

There have been lots! But one of my favourites that I wear all the time is a silver ‘Cariad’ ring from Rhiannon jewellery which my sister bought me for my 40th birthday.

Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?

I really like making my bigger vessels, the complete opposite to the delicate lovespoons! I came across a photograph recently of a large pot that I made a few years ago, it was made with a textured clay and had holes in the surface, it resembled a giant colander, I really liked that pot! It lives in a friend’s house now and is always full of fruit. I find that if a ‘piece’ stays in my house for too long I start to get attached to it and find it difficult to take it off to a gallery.

What artists or designers do you admire locally and nationally

 When I was studying I loved the work of Gordon Baldwin, fantastic forms, colours and textures. Facebook and Instagram have opened up a whole new world for finding artists, I follow the American ceramic artist Rae Dunn on both, she has a great range of work and takes fantastic photographs.

What do you want people who own your work to feel when they look at/hold a piece of yours?

I guess I’d just like people to love the beauty and simplicity in something that has been handmade by my hands! I often think how strange it is to think that something that has come from me is now living in someone else’s home, hopefully being cherished and appreciated and bringing some joy to them!

Where is your favourite place in Wales?

I love North Wales, the rugged mountains and the wild sea. Best of both worlds.

What did you think of The Great British Throwdown?

I loved it! How fantastic to bring ceramics with all its trials, tribulations, tears and wonderful moments to the masses! My art teacher at school introduced me to the work of Kate Malone and that’s where my love of ceramics began, so it was great to see her and Keith Brymer Jones presenting the show.

Have you ever had a complete ceramic disaster? 

The usual glaze disasters and pots stuck to kiln shelves, but the biggest disaster was when I first graduated.

I was running a workshop at a local school, where we created ceramic stepping stones to be placed in the school garden, but the central piece was to be a ‘monolith’ which had the thumb print of each child involved pressed into it.

When I was at university I had made very big pieces and while I was building them I used scrunched up newspaper to support the form. I adopted the same technique for the ‘monolith’, not realizing that the kiln room at the school didn’t have the industrial extractor fans that we had at university!

I popped the kiln on as I left on the Friday...the next day I had a phone call to say that the school caretaker had had to call the fire brigade as they thought the kiln room was on fire when it filled with smoke from the burning newspaper! The Monolith didn’t survive!

Thanks for chatting to us!

Love, The Gallery

 

 

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