Sarah Thompson | Episode 234
Sarah Thompson works with porcelain and throws it mostly on her potters wheel. Sarah hand paints botanical motifs on the surface of each pot, and then glazes them in her own colors. Sarah’s work is functional ceramics.
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Why clay for you?
I think because clay is always different. I know painters would probably say their paintings are always different but clay is sort of different (and I am biased) You make something, you get to form it, you have the added element of having mud on your hands and being dirty and then the extreme of it coming out so clean and shiny. I guess all along the way, all the steps, each day is different. You have your wheel-throwing day which is totally different than a trimming day, which is totally different from an assembly day, which is different from a decorating day and so on. There is so much to the process that it is interesting all along the way.
What part of the process do you enjoy the most?
For me it’s gotta be the wheel throwing. The wheel days are my precious, precious days.
What was your most embarrassing moment with clay?
OK. This one’s crazy. When I first started, since I am mostly self-taught I had no experience with kiln anything.My first few firings exploded. I just kept the shop vac by the kiln.But the funny one was, I didn’t know that my clay body and my glazes needed to match and my clay body was a low fire clay and my glazes were something a potter had given me (which I now know is cone 6). When I opened the kiln it was like a Salvador Dali painting inside. All the glazes were beautiful but all the pots were completely melted to the kiln shelves.
What was your best marketing strategy?
I think it’s probably my business name. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.
How important has branding been to building your business?
I think it’s been important, with my name for example, a big hurdle is getting people to remember you.Because my work fluctuates and changes over time having my business name has really helped me be memorable.
How does social media play into your marketing?
It’s huge. I don’t really do much else. Letting people see part of my process and learning a little about me builds a connection which does ultimately turn into sales.
What is your favorite piece to make?
I really enjoy bowls because they are just fun. They are fun and I like to make them big. But I guess the most rewarding are teapots. They are probably my favorite.