A highly informative and entertaining ceramics demonstration was given by Sasha Wardell at the Springfield Centre in Corsham on 7 January 2017 as part of the Creative Wiltshire project.
Sasha delighted her audience with a real life working demonstration with clay. Everyone was enthused with the medium, and although Sasha made it look very easy, we soon realised that it is a very technical skill which takes a real professional to master! Sasha is very interested in the use of light and she showed us the slipcasting design skills she used, including cutting back the clay to create layers which would be translucent under light. Her finished pieces include highly unusual, beautiful lampshades. Other techniques included ‘feathering’ the top layer of the clay and washing back layers to produce some very stunning effects. What also surprised us was the lightness of the finished pieces; how delicate they were whilst retaining the strength that bone china can offer.
We learnt about the history of bone china clay in the UK compared to the continent where it has never been used. Bone china can be fired at a much lower temperature than porcelain and Sasha loves working with it, being fascinated by the mechanics of clay and how to manipulate it to produce a sleekness and crispness of design. Her affinity with and ability to understand the clay to such good effect truly impressed us all.
Sasha, whose studio is situated at Stowford Manor Farm near Trowbridge, trained at the Bath Academy of Art, based at Corsham Court, the Royal Doulton factory in Stoke on Trent and the L’Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs at Limoges. Commissions have included the National Trust, the Victoria & Albert Museum, P & O and the Rare Tea Company. Her work is collected by institutions worldwide.
Alongside her Stowford studio, Sasha runs week long training courses in France where she welcomes people from all around the world. To find out more about her work and training sessions, please visit www.sashawardell.com
It takes about two weeks to complete a piece, and the techniques Sasha uses to get to the firing stage are fascinating. Her finished pieces are exquisite.
Julie Davis – Project Officer