Sarah Villeneau

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Fascinated by the landscape of the human body and otherworldly and microscopic lifeforms, Sarah uses the inherently mimetic qualities of clay to create work which is ambiguous, suggestive and tactile. Capturing the essence of the organic, creating work which looks sprung from the earth, not formed by human hand, she is often asked “Is it real?”   Through an intuitive approach to making, pushing and stretching the clay whilst following its inherent tendencies, forms emerge which echo the thrust and movement of flesh or nature’s creations, resulting in work which is expressive and resonant with deep-seated memories and emotions.

Falling in love with clay at an evening class in her twenties, Sarah became a bicycle dispatch rider in London to support herself on her first art course at Sir John Cass School of Art.  Following this she travelled to Papua New Guinea visiting pottery villages, became a pottery assistant at the Janet Adam Pottery in Edinburgh and Potter-in-Residence at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. Moving back to England and realising the limits of her training she enrolled on a number of courses over the years.  Completing an MA in Studio Ceramics at Loughborough University in 2014 saw a major shift in her work towards abstract sculpture, and the resolution to concentrate fully on her studio practice.

Techniques used include slabbing, pinching and modelling. The clay is textured under textured and reactive glazes. The addition of inorganic materials - nails, wire, prefired ceramics - expresses fragility, imperfection, life’s journey. Work is fired to stoneware in an electric kiln, often undergoing several firings.

Recent exhibitions include The Discerning Eye, Innovations in Ceramic Art, Ceramic Art Wales, Ceramics in the City, Handmade in Britain, Shaped from the Earth (Sheffield) and Landmarks in Todmorden.