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Gardiner Museum

Sarah Lawless

Sarah Lawless

Igneous Jug & Eggshell Cups
Wheel thrown, hand-built and altered porcelain, soda ash
and saturated iron glazes, oxidation fired in an electric kiln, cone 10


Clay is essentially stone plus water, eroded over millennia. My porcelain vessels combine elements of both: the solidity of stone and fluidity of water. At the same time, they evoke a sense of growth and fecundity—life emerging from the primordial swamp. My vision is an intermingling of the wild natural environment and the human-built domestic sphere. While the forms and surfaces are reminiscent of beach stones and wind-swept landscapes, they also pay homage to the weathered ancient products of human endeavour, worn away by time and the elements.

My pieces involve a sculptural emphasis on form, they are meant to be experienced by other senses besides the visual. They often appeal to those with vision difficulties, because of their tactile softness and ease in holding. They are meant for use; they are functional pots but they are not simply utilitarian. Their soft curves and smooth matte surfaces render them intuitively touchable, and their full significance can be felt only when the "viewer" becomes "user". Those who interact with my work use words like "sensual," "ergonomic" and "kinesthetic" to describe their experiences.

Sarah Lawless

Artist Bio

Sarah Lawless is a graduate of Kootenay School of the Arts (Nelson, BC, 2006). She has worked as assistant to Saidye Bronfman Award-winning potter Wayne Ngan (2004), and received awards from the British Columbia Arts Council (2004, 2005), American Orton Cone Box Show (2006) and the Crafts Association of British Columbia (2006). In 2008, she was the recipient of a British Columbia Creative Achievement Award. Her work has been shown in several exhibitions, including "BC-Japan" in Tajimi, Japan (2005) and "Celebrate Craft" in St. John's, Newfoundland (2007). In 2010, she was a guest artist at "Fired Up!" in Victoria, British Columbia. Since 2008, Sarah has been an occasional lecturer/instructor at Kootenay School of the Arts. She works out of her studio at her home in Kaslo, British Columbia.

Nominator Statement

Sarah Lawless is poetically committed to beauty in function. Her work is a restrained expression of the natural world that honours utility while creating sensual and tactile experience. Both surface and form invite touch, speak to the senses and fundamentally express the essence of the material. While essentially minimalist, her work is simple and elegant but also engaging – the kind that makes good dinner company.

Rachelle Chinnery, nominator
Ceramic artist, Hornby Island, British Columbia

Nominator Bio

Rachelle Chinnery's carved porcelain is in museum collections around the world and was recognized in Canada in 2007 with a BC Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design. She began her ceramics career in Japan and later studied at Sheridan College and Emily Carr University. Rachelle is a passionate advocate of fine craft practice as it pertains to a value-driven life.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Toni Hafkenscheid Photography

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