Sarah Wiegersma. Golden Fleece Award Winner 2013

Medium: Ceramics

Website: http://www.sarahwiegersma.com

Artichoke Flower Cereus Bloom Eva Eva (detail) Marrow Wanda


I am applying for the Golden Fleece Award as I have been offered a solo exhibition in the Netherlands which would take place at the end of the summer 2013. This would be my first solo exhibition and I feel that this presents an invaluable opportunity for me and my career, especially in terms of exposure; not only on an international stage but also one which has a well-established history of traditional arts and which is renowned for its craft based decorative arts, such as the Netherlands.

Furthermore, as several of my pieces have been selected as part of an exhibition of Irish craft which will be held in the European Union headquarters in Brussels for the duration of the upcoming EU Irish presidency, I feel that a continental solo exhibition shortly after this would greatly aid me in creating a good reputation. This in turn, I would hope, could result in the opportunity to participate in various residencies, many of which have a solo exhibition as an entry prerequisite. Especially at this quite early stage of my career I feel that opportunities such as these residencies are vital, not only as a way of improving technically but also of constantly progressing and expanding in terms of influences and artistic ideas.

As this Dutch exhibition is such an important opportunity I feel that it is important to create a new body of work, which while not radically departing from my previous work, would consist of pieces which have new motifs and variations in form. If I was awarded the Golden Fleece Award I would utilise it in order to realise this exhibition and create this new body of work, from the necessary research and experimentation of these new pieces to the ultimate fabrication of them and also any transportation costs which may be incurred in shipping the pieces to the Netherlands.

Artist Statement

My most recent sculptures employ clay casting techniques. I take forms directly from organic material and re-work them into sculptural objects that resemble iconic designs of the Victorian era. My prime interest lies in the way natural patterns and motifs became increasingly popular in decorative art at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. This nostalgic pastiche of nature arose at a time when, paradoxically, individuals were becoming increasingly divorced from a natural environment. Themes of separation, loss and reassurance, as represented in everyday cultural artefacts under-pin my present practice.

The pieces are hand built with the aid of press moulds. The surface is then hand modelled using rough shapes from plaster moulds. The pieces will then be glaze fired up to seven times to create the desired glaze effect. The colours are produced by layering the glaze in between firings. The pieces are fired to earthen ware temperatures.