For Sandra Henderson, clay is in her DNA or at least, it was absorbed into her psyche early on. Her mother was a potter, with a BFA in Ceramics from Alfred University (NY). So Sandy played with clay as naturally as most children play with crayons and paper. In fact, her studio still holds an old treadle kick-wheel that was in her mother’s college classroom; it has traveled with the family through many moves.
Speaking of her avocation with clay, Sandy says, “I've studied the craft of clay in college classes, community art centers, workshops, and online. But mostly it has been practice, practice, and more practice. There were many years when I had little to do with clay, but my heart and my hands remembered it. I am very fortunate now to have my own studio in what was once our garage, and to be blessed with the time, equipment, and energy to do what I love.”
“I love the touch of hand on clay. I love the potter’s wheel--the old Randall wheel I use is almost identical in design to potters’ wheels in ancient Egyptian drawings, although my wheel does have a motor. I've always been an ‘earth’ person, a gardener and a lover of natural wild places. As I have worked more steadily in clay the past 20 years, trees, toads, and turtles have been recurring motifs. Clearly though, my roots are in functional pottery--most of what I make starts its life on the wheel.”
“All my work is individually hand-crafted. Pieces may be similar, but they are not identical. I fire to cone six, in oxidation, in an electric kiln. My work is meant to be used; that means that pitchers pour, vases hold water, garden objects will survive outdoors for years through the growing season. Pots are microwave and dishwasher safe (but not to be used on stove tops or in conventional ovens). The glazes I use are free of lead, barium, and cadmium.”
Sandra Henderson’s Joyful Mud of Life clay artworks will be on display at MoonTree Gallery from October 15 through November 19, 2016. MoonTree Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. It is also open Saturdays from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 for group tour arrangements, or for an appointment at times other than these. Closing day for The Joyful Mud of Life will be Saturday, November 19, 2016.