I make pottery because I love the relationship I have developed with clay, my material of choice. Like other relationships, I find that making with clay allows me to hone my craftswomanship as well as rethink my processes and designs, depending on the textures, plasticities and other specific traits of each individual clay body. As much as I seek to shape and engage the material with which I work, I also hope to learn from and be challenged by it. I strive to pay close attention to each interaction with my material and making process in an effort to create pots that show my intentionality as a maker and my engagement with the material.
My forms are simple and traditional, grounded in a long history of functional craft, strongly influenced by wood-fired folk pots. I primarily use dark, iron-rich clay bodies, mixed from wild clays dug in North Carolina, near my home and studio. I enjoy the play and contrast between dark red or brown clay and a light slip brushed or dipped over. With the addition of clear glaze, carved or painted patterns and a short firing, in a reduced atmosphere, I am able to achieve variegated surfaces on functional pots, that will engage others through the physical beauty of a handmade object, as well as the desire to touch and use a familiar, everyday form.
Sarah Matesz grew up in Northwest Ohio, surrounded by rich farm soil planted with corn and soybean crops. She took her first clay class at a community art studio when she was four, and returned to those classes for the next nine years. During her freshman year at Earlham College, she returned to clay in Ceramics I with Judy Wojcik and again fell in love with one of the many ways to play in the dirt. She ultimately graduated in 2012 with a BA, focusing on wheel thrown, wood fired, studio ceramics.
After college, Sarah was drawn to western North Carolina: for the mountains, the craft community and a job at Arthur Morgan School, a small Quaker boarding school with an experiential and outdoor education focus. There she taught art classes, including ceramics. In the summer of 2015 she took a wood fired pottery workshop at Penland with Linda Christianson and in the year following decided it was time to find a way to return to clay. The incredible opportunity to apprentice with Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish at Bandana Pottery surfaced that spring. Sarah was thrilled to work with them and learn about processing and using local clay, firing with wood, and working freely and intentionally with her materials. After completing her two-year apprenticeship Sarah was awarded an artist in residence at STARworks Ceramics. After nine months at STARworks, Sarah lives in Burnsville, North Carolina, making pots and continuing to develop her ceramics practice.