ABOUT THE ARTIST
A lovely memory from school was the pottery classroom at my old comprehensive. A friendly light filled space where alot of handbuilt figurative claywork emerged and a happy, dedicated and driven pupil surfaced. Despite this however it's importance was somehow lost at the time even though a foundation course (Maidenhead College of Art and Design) and a Design degree (Staffordshire Polytechnic) followed. Somehow the 'secondary option' had become an ingrained narrative in the wake of academic results (mine hadn't shone) and persisted unchallenged for a further 30 years. It was a narrative that was altogether wrong of course, clay was never secondary. A collection of converging lines later and most significantly the arrival of a shiny new MSc (Sustainable & Environmental Management) finally dispelled the old narrative and once it did everything changed. I handled clay again in January 2019 and almost immediately memories of my old pottery classroom came flooding back and it was lovely. It's not always possible to carve out joy in ones life but reaquainting with clay, I did, quite literally. This is what I can tell you, when your narrative fits, your life is infused with everything, and you know you'll be rich for the rest of your days. Enthusiasm, questions, curiosity, frustration, exploration, risk, vigor, it's a landslide of being alive and of course you have stress and worry but it's altogether different because you're always where you want to be. The very same energy that circulates our world and keeps all our hearts beating is beating through me, my hands and the clay I hold. It leads to the faces, the figures and the forms sculpted and the introspection reflected and felt. A few years in it's increasingly possible to extend my clay world into the reach of others through exhibitions, artwork that's interactive, workshops and residencies. I'd like to say that if some of the energy I now get to feel might be of benefit somewhere to someone then all the better. If you have your joy I'm so pleased for you, if you don't just know that there's always time. Last year began with a co-curated exhibition at the Brampton Museum and Art Gallery in Newcastle-under-Lyme, with two fellow local artists. There were opportunities to host clay workshops with children and adults, able to watch and guide first hand a wide spectrum of generations wrestling with the joys of clay. Whilst the inclusion of interactive art installations, inviting gallery visitors to become part of the exhibition, proved incredibly popular and made for a magic time. This year is a continuation of the work I am doing as a creative practitioner for Partners in Creative Learning (PiCL) with a wonderful local primary school. The children are a world of promise and hope, lovely little people with bags of energy and enthusiasm. Surrounded by dedicated, caring and professional adults they are finding their way and the path with me right now is clay and creativity. We are learning together, it doesn't really get any better than this. Exhibitions before this include ING Discerning Eye at the Mall Galleries in 2021. The three pieces submitted were selected by the judge, actor and art collector, Russell Tovey and contemporary artist, Adelaide Damoah. At the same gallery in 2022, I exhibited in the annual exhibitions for The Royal Society of British Artists and The Society of Women Artists. Each was a wonderful opportunity which I hope to repeat. The Three Counties Open Art in 2022 invited submissions for sculpture and I was delighted to exhibit on home ground. This is when I became an award winner for the first time, took part in the subsidiary awards exhibition, and secured my first residency where I went on to host my first clay workshops. At the close of the year I also exhibited two pieces at the Leamington Open 22, Leamington Spa, receiving a judges commendation for one and at which a collector purchased the other. I try to ensure I record all the creative practices along the way through my monthly storyboard, you're so welcome to join us (just subscribe via my contacts page), in addition to plenty of permanent information and images here on my website.
Artist Sally Fitchard Clay Sculpture
Artist Sally Fitchard Clay Sculpture