"I was first introduced to ceramics during my freshman year of high school at Trinity Episcopal
School. I had an immediate connection with the art form. It provided an escape from the busy
world and life as a high schooler. Being able to sit down at the potter’s wheel and becoming
one with the clay is an experience that not many people can say that they’ve tried. I always
found it such a comforting use of time, because it relieves stress and helps me center myself; as
well as the clay.
After much experimentation during my first 3 years of ceramics, I found a passion for alternate
firings. I was used to doing ‘only high fire glaze’ or an occasional ‘pit fire’, but I wanted to
experiment with other options. I came across a new method that I had never heard of before
called “saggar firing”. This was a method that had been used for centuries. A saggar is a
chamber in which you put your piece in, and enclose it with various combustibles. After
enclosing your piece, it is then placed into a pit fire to heat up for about 2 hours, and then
letting nature run its course. This sort of ‘traps’ the heat and smoke inside the chamber to
leave a unique and natural surface treatment. It is impossible to predict what kind of effect that
your piece will get once you take it out of the pit fire, which is what makes it so interesting. This
method has been my method of choice, not only because of the unique designs that it yields,
but also the unpredictability. I find it interesting that in one stage of the process, you are on the
wheel with the ability to manipulate your pot in any way, shape, or form; then you throw it in a
pit fire and are only left with the hope that it may come out in your favor. This contrast between
control and powerlessness is what makes this art form such an exciting experience.
My grandpa has been a huge influence on me ever since I was a child. I can remember going
to his house to paint and having him pass down all of the skills that he knows to me. He’s
been a huge supporter in my artistic career ever since I can remember. I think it’s interesting,
now, how well our work plays together, even though we create in different mediums. I’ve been
inspired by his atmospheric approach to painting and decided to put my own spin on it with my ceramics.
I am excited to continue this ceramics journey. I look forward to excelling in the techniques that
I am already accustomed to while extending my discoveries of new methods to add to my portfolio."
©2019 Collin Sandler