'Yesterday I sat waiting for a train at a local station. and watched
one of the attendants as he signalled trains to depart. I've observed
him over the years, the spring in his walk, the economy of his
movements, his relaxed but attentive ways. He dismisses trains with
sensuous ease and whistle's while he sweeps the stairs at night.
In a sense he is a model for how I try to work now and even for what I make, too. I took him for ordinary until I saw he is so individual.'
I wrote that some years back and feel an up-date is necessary because I saw the same man recently at another station up the line. This time he was assigned the dangerous job of linking two portions of my train. As he passed I saw that he walked with a protuberant stomach and his weight no longer on the balls of his feet but now on his heels. The posture that had caught my eye in the past was gone. His jacket was oily. My heart sank. There was so little time to observe his face. What I most hoped to see there was some sign that his concentration of old was still there, intact.
I've tried to concentrate on what I do, as that railwayman has. My medium is clay. I've been a potter since 1975.
Throughout that time all my ceramics have been Saltglazed. This is an unpredictable method of glazing. But I try to be canny. I 'stalk' effects that I know might happen if I do 'this' during the making or 'this' during the kiln-packing or 'that' during the firing. For at any one of these stages what I do can influence the final glaze.
Sarah Walton has worked as a potter at Alciston since 1975, using Salt kiln. She is the sike maker in a set up where two part-time helpers take a supporting role. Landscape is a theme; she has walked, drawn & painted it since childhood & it inspired her Birdbaths. Her inclination is to home down forms that are developed over years. She chooses a limited palatte & seeks to exploit the austere & subtle qualities of Saltglazing.
Saltglaze firing in reducing atmosphere to 1280deg. C. Originally exclusively thrown work (tableware) but since 1984 has become much more interested in hand-building techniques, including press moulding.
1975 - Crafts Council Grant to establish a workshop
1978 - South East Arts Bursary Award
1990 - John Ruskin Craft Bursary
1993 - South East Arts Major Award
1998 - South East Arts Award
Artdejardin Gallery, Rutland. 2007.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre & 50th Anniversary Exhbition of The Gallery Bevere, Gloucester.
Quenington Sculpture Trust.
Ceramic Art London, RCA London.
Collect V&A, London.
Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gallery, Ockley. 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Marchants Hardy Plants. 2004 & 2006.
1987 & 1999 - Communion vessels for the Benedictine Monastery at
Worth Abbey, Sussex 1990 - Large vase for St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside,
1990 - Large vase for St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London
Many private commissions through the years
Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Crafts Council, London.
Contemporary Arts Soc, London.
S.E Arts Collection, Hove Museum, Sussex.
Castle Museum, Nottingham.
Crafts Centre, Nothern Arts, Cleveland.
Norwich Museum, Norfolk.
City Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.
Newport Museum, Gwent, Wales.
Arts Centre, University of South Wales, Aberystwyth.
Paisley & Glasgow Museums, Scotland.
The Alien Gallery, Alton, Hampshire.