Sarah & Robbie @ Greenbranch Farm Robert Johnson and Sarah Halcott, Amused Studios, Salisbury, MD 21804
What is the best way to reach you? E-mail at email@example.com, or call 410-603-0774.
What type of art do you create:
We mainly create ceramic art and pottery. We make a large variety of work using every technique we can think to try. We throw on the wheel and hand build, often combining the two. We fire to a range of temperatures from very low which is purely decorative when finished; to very high which becomes completely functional, food safe and microwave safe. We mostly create functional ceramic art and try to add interesting and complex ideas to our pieces. Occasionally we have time and inspiration to create purely conceptual art.
Describe your work:
Our pottery is about being in in the moment with the clay. Each piece is different and needs some kind of different attention. We like to give our functional forms some kind of twist, some kind of distortion or addition that allows the form to move from an object to a subject. We pay special attention to the surface of each piece and like to play with elements of design and function.
Our functional end includes traditional wares such as mugs, plates, bowls, pitchers, lamps, decorative vases, soap and oil dispensers. Robbie also creates a unique array of instruments including egg shakers, ocarinas, and hand drums. There are two main kinds of drums, one is made with hide stretched over the top and the other is all ceramic. Every piece we create is an individual so each instrument sounds different, each mug feels different.
We also make sculpture and wall art. These pieces are more conceptual, focusing more on form than function. We create a simple form and then distort it carefully. Robert's " Sea Life in a Dream" is a porcelain vase which had it's top carefully cut and reapplied to it's sides. It's sides were then carved opened with what now seems like gills. The piece was Soda fired with a Shino glaze, it came out white with blushes of greens and pinks. It is displayed atop on an old root ball Robbie found on a walk in the forest. The piece won a judges choice award at the 10th annual Art's Alive in Ocean City, Maryland and was juried into and shown at the 19th annual National Juried Exhibition, at the Art Institute and Gallery.
When did you start making your art?
We both started making art as children. As a child I used mediums such as drawing, painting, photography, played trumpet, and sang in choir to express my artistic identity. Robbie has natural talent for drawing winning awards as early as first grade. He also has a natural aptitude for painting and guitar. We started making pottery together 5 years ago while I was in college.
What inspires you?
We find inspiration in nature. Clay is a natural element as well as the materials in the glazes. We must pay attention to the materials and interact with our work based on what we want to achieve and what the material is able to produce. Creating work becomes playful as we carefully tease our creations in to being. We do not always know exactly how a piece will look when it is done, there is an element of surprise especially in firing, a glaze may look different each firing depending on specific atmospheric kiln conditions.
We are inspired by color, and surround our selves with a very colorful environment. We like to play with color on our pots and test the limits of what glazes can do.
Who is your favorite artist?
I don't think about artists in terms of who is my most favorite, I am constantly being inspired by many other artists of all disciplines. I like to find what has relevance to me in everyone's work. Picking a favorite artist would be like picking a favorite color, yeah I am partial to purple but with out all of the other colors purple wouldn't be anything special.
What are the challenges of creating your art?
One challenge is how dirty our art is, everything starts out as mud. When it dries it can become a dusty mess if we don't stay on top of cleaning.
Another challenge is finding time and inspiration to create more than simple functional forms. The simple things like coffee mugs and dishes are our highest selling pieces so we spend a good chunk of time on those. We don't have a lot of time to create because of all of the other things we do, but when we make the really conceptual stuff it is usually more fun because there are no boundaries.
Do you make a living through your art?
Through all the facets of an artistic life we have found a way to make a living. Pottery alone does not pay the bills. We do much more than create our art . We spend a lot of time teaching other people how to create art, making glazes, running kilns, selling and promoting our work.
Do you have a job outside of your art?
Everything we do is related to our art. We balance our schedule teaching pottery classes at the Art Institute and Gallery, we attend a variety of shows and events, sell our work at various shops and galleries, and help run Salisbury University's ceramic and sculpture studios.
Where in the community can your work be seen?
Find us November 16- 21 at CCART, a scholarship fund sale which will be happening in down town Salisbury on the Plaza in the Powell building. There will be a special reception for Third Friday, which we also usually attend.
We sell our work locally at Greenbranch Farm, Art Institute and Gallery's gift shop, Enza's Organic Salon, Chesapeake East and Layton's Chance Winery. We show our work in galleries including Art Institute and Gallery in Salisbury, Aerie Art Gallery in Rehoboth and Bishop Stock in Snow Hill. We also attend a variety of local art and craft fairs. Our calendar can be found on our web site www.amusedstudios.org under the events category.
What do you think the Eastern Shore can do to improve its arts scene?
Accessibility and positive attitudes could change the art scene. Creating is integral to art, but viewing is equally important. More artists need to show their work and more outlets need to be available for them to do so. The more people produce work the more interest can be generated through the enthusiasm of the artists.