Toe River Arts | Clay
DOMESTICATED DIRT STUDIOS
Sarah Holt grew up in Illinois, and spent most of her childhood in the woods, gardens and prairie around her family home, acquiring a knowledge of the natural world that inspires her work today. She started working in clay as a teenager at Parkland College in Champaign, IL. Sarah first came to the area for a clay concentration at Penland School of Craft in 2009, and later returned to take several more concentrations and summer workshops. Between Penland classes she completed a four-year apprenticeship with Michael Schwegmann at Boneyard Pottery in Champaign, IL (where she also taught pottery classes), and was an Artist in Residence at the St. Petersburg Clay Company in St. Petersburg, FL.
Holt’s work has been featured in exhibitions at the Morean Arts Center for Clay in St. Petersburg, FL, Baltimore Clayworks, and the Strictly Functional Pottery National in Lancaster, PA, and she was commissioned by Penland School to make 550 mugs for the patrons of the 2015 Penland Benefit Auction. Sarah moved to Mitchell County in 2014 to assist local potter Gay Smith and work for other area potters. Now she and her husband Joe are building their home studio in the Penland community.
“I believe that the quality of life is improved by the everyday use of functional art that has a personal meaning and value, making daily routines into rituals. I make simple elegant pots with carved decoration based on native plants and garden flowers as well as on old china patterns and my mother’s quilting calicoes. I have recently begun making large vessels with sculpted floral decorations, and decoration studies that are sculptures on their own. My pieces are fired in salt/soda kilns, giving their surfaces warmth and spontaneous decoration. I want my work to be approachable, comforting, and to hold a meaningful place in the owners’ everyday life.” — Sarah Holt