Given each of her pieces takes four to six painstaking weeks to complete, Melbourne-based ceramic designer and illustrator Sarah Tracton must know a thing or two about perseverance. “I create porcelain works in small batches, which is the equivalent of clay slow cooking. My studio is rather like a science lab, in which no part of the process can be rushed. It is a rigorous journey of trial and error, and knowing the tenuousness of wet and dry in order to avoid cracks. Witnessing the collision between water, heat and atmosphere is often fraught – clay can be temperamental and patience is essential!” says Sarah.
With no two pieces the same, each of Sarah’s ceramics involve two clay firings (once at 1000 degrees and again at 1280 degrees) and the pieces are sanded by hand in between for a smooth finish. “Marbled chromatic landscape panorama coloured surfaces akin to landscape topography are the result,” says Sarah who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School in East Sydney and has been featured in House and Garden and Vogue Living magazines.
“My works are like characters I get to know as they journey from pliable porcelain sheets of slip towards two firings. Their colours morph and transform as they undergo their reaction with new atmospheres, a journey of water and heat. This unveiling of colour is a metamorphosis that is fascinating to watch,” says Sarah.
Sarah’s oeuvre includes a variety of vessels and more recently a series of beautiful pendant lights. “I transitioned from constructing vessels to lighting as it is ultimately a piece of design that sets centre stage in a room, and it has longevity into the future. It’s a thrill knowing that something I created by hand is adaptable and functional for everyday life,” says Sarah.
Aimed at fusing fine art with functional design, Sarah’s lights are all one-off creations. “When something is created 100 per cent by hand, each piece is unique in a way that cannot be replicated in a homogenous mass-making process,” says Sarah who spends equal time on her drawing practice too.
“In the process of drawing I enter a meditative and hypnotic state in which I experience creative immersion in total silence. I work across charcoal and pen mediums, fusing abstraction with figurative,” says Sarah who is currently working on her first solo show, due to be staged in Melbourne soon.
Photography: Artificial Studios
Sarah Tracton’s Hearing it for Silence’ solo exhibition will be staged at St Heliers Street Gallery at the Abbotsford Convent, VIC from July 13- July 22 & August 13 – September 4, 2018.
For more | Our favourite Aussie handmade ceramics