Ceramic bowl and flower vase on table

Ceramic bowl

Table setting with ceramic bowls, one of which contains pasta

Jane Sarre is a ceramic artist based in Hastings, East Sussex.  She runs pottery classes from her studio in the garden of her home.  Jane's work has been featured in the Guardian Cook and her client list includes Jamie Oliver: Friday Night Feast and The Laughing Heart.  
 
What does your work entail? What do you do?
I design and make ceramics. Until now, that has mainly been tableware thrown on a wheel; but recently, I have been enjoying experimenting with more abstract sculptural pieces.

How did you get into this field?
I studied an art foundation course when I left school and spent almost all my time in the ceramics studio - but had a place to go to university and then got a career in museums for many years before coming back to ceramics at evening classes, loving it, and deciding to leave my job to set up my own studio and creative practice.
 
What do you like most about your work?
I like experimenting and developing new ideas. I find I can have some initial ideas to guide me as I start, but it's the live-ness of being totally in the moment and following a new line of creation that I love most.
 
What is your work space like?
I have a purpose built studio next to the house in our garden. It's a funny 5 sided shape to fit into a triangular plot, with lots of windows.  Ceramics needs a lot of storage space for work in progress so a lot of it is filled with shelves, but I do have room for some of my rusty treasures and beachcombing finds as well as a huge table in the middle to spread everything out and get messy while I'm working.

You hold pottery classes from your studio.  What can students expect?
I offer taster classes where students can come in for a one-off guided session to try working with clay and make a specific project that is fired for them to take home. The longer beginner's course is thorough but relaxed.  It takes the student through all the basic techniques including pinching, coiling, soft and hard slabs, using moulds and textures, decorating with slips, oxides and stains, as well as glazing. The improvers course is more challenging, and encourages students to find their own inspirations, and stretch creatively and technically as they develop their own projects.  
 
Ceramic vase
 
Where did you grow up?  
I grew up in Milton Keynes and now live in Hastings. You can't beat being by the sea.
 
Your studio is based in Hastings,East Sussex.  What makes this community unique? 
It's an inspiring landscape; the town is filled with artists so there's loads happening and a very vibrant local network; and, people are content to let others get on with their projects - however eccentric! 
 
What brought you to the region?
I have lived and worked in the region before, and have family nearby.  It worked practically for us as it's near our extended families and affordable.  It's by the sea which was absolutely essential, and offers the space and the community we were looking for.
  
Ceramic bowls on table
 
Who or what inspires you? 
I like seeing the work of other artists and makers, but what really inspires me most is to get out and walk and explore and really soak up my surroundings. My most recent series has all been inspired by a residency at Dungeness, looking at the architecture, the detritus left on the beach, and the overall experience of staying in such a magical place.
 
Tell us more about your Dungeness series? 
The pieces in the series are inspired by the cottages and outbuildings scattered across the ness.  They inform the shapes of the works and the way composite forms are joined together, as well as the use of printing to create a graphic surface.
 
Whose work do you most admire in ceramics?
Rebecca Appleby, contemporary sculpture.
Gordon Baldwin, wonderful abstract forms and surfaces.
Mitch Iburg, use of wild clay and other found materials. 


ceramic artist making pottery
 
What was your highlight of last year?
Doing a 5 day masterclass with the amazing sculptor Rebecca Appleby. I learnt so much and developed new ideas that are taking me in a new direction. 
 
Where do you see your practice going in the future? Are there any new techniques you’d like to try?
After 2 years of health issues I'm now embarking on a new direction for my practice, which is very exciting. I'm returning to my roots with more handbuilding and considering a shift to earthenware clays. The aim is to create an entirely new tableware collection called Homeground which will incorporate a range of surface treatments so every piece is individual. Alongside this I'm also looking at how to continue developing my site-based practice that began with the Dungeness series and how it can evolve into something more sculptural. Watch this space! 
 

Ceramic plates, bowls and vases on table

Describe a memorable moment in your life.

When I was about 11, we had our summer holiday at my grandparents' inGuernsey. There was a big storm and a shipping container washed up on the beach. The next day there was a big sale of all the soggy things inside, including a crate of french wool berets in all the colours. I bought a turquoise one for 50p and loved it.


Do you collect anything?    

I can't resist a good pebble from the beach, bones or an interesting twig or seedhead, or rusty metal shapes that have corroded past the point of identification. 


What do you look for in winter accessories?   
I look for good materials, practicality and a bit of quiet flair.

How do you style winter hats such as the beanie or beret?
Recently, I've been enjoying a tweedy green flat cap, but I live by the coast and the winter wind is icy so something warm to cover my ears - and preferably look good around town with my black duffle and redwing boots.

 Photo portrait of ceramic artist
 
 For more information about Jane and her work, visit  www.janesarre.co.uk

Photos: Janesarre.co.uk