'We don’t have spiritually uplifting, secular spaces in our culture and there is a need'

Staying at home in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis have you feeling like your inventive spark is snuffed out? Now's the time to ignite your inspiration: here's an excerpt from our bestselling title, Tom Morris' New Wave Clayin which Sandy Brown explains why she uses the natural medium to create spiritual moments.

Sandy Brown was 19 years old when she drove overland from the UK to India in a Volkswagen camper van. En route, she passed Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the Shah Mosque in Iran and the Taj Mahal in India. ‘It wasn't until hundreds of years later as a ceramicist that I could see what was happening,’ she says. ‘That experience had stayed in the unconscious all that time and popped out in the clay.’

In 2015, Brown created a temple for an outdoor sculpture exhibition hosted by Sotheby’s at estate Chatsworth House in the UK that harks back to the adolescent trip. It was the culmination of a career delving deep into colour, abstraction, spirituality and mindfulness. She describes it as a non-denominational temple to contemporary rituals, whatever they might be.

‘We don’t have spiritually uplifting, secular spaces in our culture and there is a need,’ she says. The temple took nine months to create, with some help from an architect and a glassblower who produced the coloured skylights. The design stemmed from a clay ‘doodle’ that Brown made in 30 minutes. Brown is known for her array of highly expressive ceramic sculptures and functional ware. Like the rest of her work, it is a contemplative totem to the rapturous qualities of the decorative and the medium of clay itself.


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