Hudson River Exchange interviews the maker Sarah Mitchell-Davison of Arc Ceramics currently showcased at the Handmade Pop Up Shop at 514 Warren Street from May 17th to June 16th.
HRE: What’s your creative process? What’s your favorite part? How do you maintain your creative stamina? What do you do when you’re stuck?
SARAH: 1. I love to work in a series. I start with designing on paper, exploring shapes and working out the proportions before realizing them on the wheel or by hand-building.
2. The creative phase of the process is definitely my fav, from concept and making the initial designs.
3. I keep routine work hours with downtime for family and friends. I’ve also found travel as another great way for me to reflect and gather new energy/inspiration.
4. Take a break, consult other creatives for feedback. Spend time outdoors helps me to recenter.
Get back up on that horse and try it again with a different approach.
HRE: What materials do you work with? How did you start working with these materials and why do you enjoy working with these materials?
SARAH: 1. I work with stoneware clay bodies from dark brown to porcelain.
2. It started as a way to connect creatively to a different medium from my product design background. Working with clay has been fulfilling on a level I never expected.
I love it and I’m continually excited by the possibilities of this material.
HRE: We believe creativity loves company because there’s so much we can share and learn from each other. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about creative practice, business, or in life?
SARAH: It’s hard to single out the best creative advice. Here are a few that come to mind:
-Set reasonable goals, small and big. Then meet them.
-Feed your output with as much input.
-Stay connected with your environment and creative communities.
-Follow your heart, stay true to your vision but be flexible and open to change.
HRE: What is a goal that you set for your business this year?
SARAH: I have many goals this year, major on that list is to participate in direct-to-customer pop-ups/holiday markets. And to find more right-fit retail/stores opportunities within the state of NY.
HRE: Can you share a challenge and a benefit about being a creative in the Hudson Valley?
SARAH: The pluses are a combination of affordable studio and living options, proximity to New York City, the close-knit and supportive creative community we’ve been to connect with.
Also discovering opportunities to collaborate with other designers, artists, and makers has been a positive.
Learning how to work with seasonal weather has been my biggest challenge so far. Clay prefers an even somewhat dry temperature. Keeping my studio heated and as dry as possible has helped negate some of the (a little heartbreaking) clay casualties I experienced during the winter months.
–Sarah is a Catskills based ceramic artist working out of her own studio in West Kill. Arc Ceramics offers both functional tableware and tabletop sculptures made by hand.