“I Love to Make Beautiful Things” | Sarah O’Sullivan | Episode 184

Sarah O’Sullivan | Episode 184

Sarah O'Sullivan Working

Sarah O'Sullivan VaseAs part of her undergraduate studies at the National Art School, Sydney, O’Sullivan spent a semester on exchange at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, where she learnt and refined a number of industrial ceramic processes such as designing and printing decals, plaster model/mould making and slip casting.  These skills have stayed with her and form the foundations of her current art practice.

O’Sullivan focused her 2012 Masters of Fine Art research project on Australian imagery on porcelain. During this study she undertook a three-month internship at a remote Indigenous Art Centre in Ikuntji, NT. Since completing her MFA O’Sullivan has exhibited at the 4th ASNA clay triennial in Pakistan, had her work toured through the Emporio Armani stores in Australia, selected as a finalist for Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards and held a solo exhibition at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney and Craft Gallery, Melbourne. O’Sullivan has just returned from a mentorship with Sung Jae Choi in Gimhae, South Korea.


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Sarah O'Sullivan Three Bowls

Who is your hero?

My hero is probably my mum. Yeah. She’s wonderful.

Sarah O'Sullivan Red Vase

What motivates you to work hard?

I would like to say that I’m really loving what I’m doing. But there are only a few moments that I’m loving. The rest I’m like sanding, mixing slip, and loading the kilns. I’m not in love with those, but it’s jobs that I know I need to get done to get to the bits that I love. I always feel like I have a good work ethic. Like I can keep at it. I think I’m just striving to always get to those good bits.

Sarah O'Sullivan Pitcher with Cups

What would you change about your business if you could? 

I would get a bigger space. A bigger studio. I’m actually in the process of trying to get a bigger studio. I feel like people tend to work to the space that they’ve got. And I feel like all my work is of a particular scale.

Sarah O'Sullivan Pieces

What did you say ‘no’ to so that you could say ‘yes’ to clay?

To be honest, I really can’t think of any. I think I’ve just really put my mind to saying ‘yes’ to clay and I forget all the ‘no’s.

Sarah O'Sullivan kangaroo paw series

If you were to win the lottery today would you continue making clay? 

Yes! 100%. I think about this all the time. If I had a million dollars I would get that little bit bigger studio and kiln and have less pressure getting it out there.

Sarah O'Sullivan Four Cups

What do your friends think of what you do? 

I think that they’re proud of me. I have a lot of friends that I went to art school with that have gone into jobs like arts administration or completely different jobs. I think that they look at what I do and they’re proud and impressed by it.

Sarah O'Sullivan Black Vase

Do you think most potters work in CROCS?

I don’t! The three potters that are in the studio next to me don’t. And I’ve just been away on a residency with twenty potters and only three of them were wearing crocs.

Sarah O'Sullivan Banksia

Book Cover

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


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