Sandra Lee Brown

Winner 2005

Artist Statement

Sandra Lee Brown has been working in ceramics for almost thirty years. Her work varies in both scale and materials used. Her design elements feature both impressions of native flora and more expressive painterly styles. It work adapts to sensory interests. 

Her practice was known some years ago for its refined whiteness and clarity, with decoration of motifs taken from the natural world. Today she is seeing colour (at long last, she says!) and is interested in how it can shift mood and inspire positivity. Her practice is now mainly built around ceramics, but design has always been a major component in the decoration of these works.

Sandra comments, "I like to make and so I do."

Her work is displayed and sold through her own business, Paisley's on Harrison, at 4/30 Harrison Street, Cardiff, near Newcastle.

Art Career Beginnings

I went to Art School as a mature age student to ‘find out’ if that need in me to create and make was as strong after a long break from making as it had been a couple of years earlier…it was…this time it was fed university portions! Being with other ‘creatives’ affirmed in me the notion of myself as an artist. Being in a creative space with fellow arts makers helped me to understand how important an opinion is……and that perceived radical opinions can be the ones that at later dates make groundbreaking changes in our society. Instead of running away from art (as I always had) I fully embraced it. I was thinking that perhaps down the track I might teach art…..which I do!

I always had a visceral response to the tactile in art – I absorbed ideas about art practice mainly from images that I grew up with. Having lived around Lake Macquarie for a good deal of my life my work which is design based generally has motifs that display images taken from nature and restructured to suit the medium I’m working in. I also draw cartoons that reflect ‘the human condition’. Whichever one that may be at the time…and am working on a series of books based on these drawings. And I sculpt. I make sculptures which are little snippets of the world around us based on my drawings/cartoons. I have an intense desire to find out more about other artists and their journey… to this end finding reading material that fully encompasses the arts practice of whichever artist is influencing my mind at the moment to be a great joy. As theirs is my journey as well.

My Jennie Thomas Travelling Scholarship Experience

Winning the Jennie Thomas Scholarship validated my journey through Art School but more than that it validated my practice and my desire to continue as an artist and maker. Awarded in my Honours year after many years of learning and discovering my place with my art, the scholarship enabled me to travel to view European Arts practice. While I was there I was able to place my arts practice in a contemporary world by viewing paintings and sculptures that I revered and placing ‘them’ in their place and time. It helped me to see where I stood in the here and now.

Beyond The Scholarship

Thanks to my studies and a lot of very hard work I am living the dream. I work 16 hours a day and 6 days a week and love what I do. I run a small shop, Paisley's On Harrison, that sells only my work, all of which is ethically made with low emissions in my studio. My kiln is rarely cool as I supply some local galleries (Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Back to Back Gallery) and do a lot of the artisan/bespoke markets that have sprung up in recent years from Sydney to the Upper Hunter.

I was commissioned last year to make the trophies for the Lake Macquarie Excellence in Business awards.

My life is full, very full – I constantly rework, explore new ideas and make – a very important part of my process as an artist. I am also invigorated by teaching and facilitating others to explore their creativity and feel that this life, as a creative artist, is one that comes with a responsibility to share what ones knows, has learnt and sees for the next generation(s) of makers and creators.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jennie for awarding me the scholarship without which my view of the world would not be as broad......

Recent Work

Outsourcing discourse (the art of conversation is going elsewhere).(2011).Earthenware paper-clay, black glaze, copper wire.

Splatt cup with glazed exterior

Interior of Sandra's Shop: Paisley's On Harrison.

Current Ceramics from Sandra's shop.

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