Did you know that DCW is run by a volunteer committee? Well, we are! We meet each week to oversee day-to-day planning in the workshop, and each contribute to DCW’s future and vision. We also have two technicians, an administrator and wonderful volunteers, plus a board of directors who help us get stuff done.
In a bid to shine a light on our gang, we’re going to share some Q&As with folks involved at the workshop. This week we’re talking to Sarah Rychtarova – marvellous technician and moontree creator.
Firstly, tell us about yourself!
Hi, I’m Sarah and I have a teenage son called Sonny. We share our abode in the countryside of Angus with Badger and Noddy our two rescue cats who have me wrapped around their little paws! I’ve had many various, interesting jobs (still having them) and college courses (hoping for more). My first job was at the BBC in London, I then gained an NC Art, Design & Graphics qualification at Perth college; became a freelance massage therapist and certified infant massage instructor; gained an NC in Nursing/Midwifery preparation; began studying to become a Doula; worked in a children’s shoe shop as a trained childrens’ shoe fitter; gained an HNC in Contemporary Art Practise at Angus College; a groom for Mountain Animals Sanctuary, Glen Ogil; gained an Honours Degree in Fine Art at DJCAD, Dundee; life model; leisure class lecturer teaching life drawing, photography, drawing & painting and ceramics at Dundee & Angus College; and finally broke out as a freelance artist!
What’s your role within DCW?
I’m a tutor teaching Ceramics for All! Weekly classes, 1-1 and group sessions in hand-building and wheel-throwing. I have also taught workshops based on my art practice. I share the role as technician in the studio. I became a member when DCW first opened and was a committee member for over two years.
What sort of work do you create in your professional practice/what’s your day job/career/vocation/calling?
My calling is to integrate art as a living as much as possible: Living as creating, whether in the garden, home, tent, van, kitchen or garden shed/greenhouse. My day job is an active choice of living with a balance of creating, resting, learning, sharing creativity with friends and others, also caring for family, animals and plants. The kind of work I produce varies from large coiled pots and hand-built sculptures to wheel-thrown rounded sculptures – I like to give myself challenges!
What is your experience of working in clay?
My experience started in 2006 with a pottery evening class I attended for two years in the Ceramics Dept. of Angus College, learning hand-building, wheel-throwing and sculpture techniques. That led to an HNC and then art college, whilst all the time developing more ceramic processes with different materials. Teaching ceramics leisure classes at Angus College after graduating gave me the opportunity to learn technical processes within the ceramic studio, ordering materials and tools for classes and training to use the kiln by the art dept and art college technicians. As a visual artist, I use all of the techniques I’ve learned over the years and give myself challenges as well, I do love to experiment with materials and processes. I can’t stop it!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
If you mess up on a piece, don’t give up on it. Keep working through the difficulties. You’ll learn a lot more about the nature of the material and process that way.
Who are your role models? Who or what inspires and encourages you?
Prehistoric visual cultures, traditional ceramic techniques around the world, nature’s resources and cyclic life.
What does DCW mean to you?
It allows me to facilitate a way of life for learning much more, whilst sharing both knowledge and experience in a space created for anyone to learn and experiment comfortably. Meeting all sorts of interesting, creative minds and where friendships are forged and the group nurtured.
Hopes for the future of DCW?
I hope that DCW continues to thrive with the help and foresight of enthusiastic and committed people who value the opportunities DCW can bring to a wider community. With a focus on all aspects of creativity and learning, an enrichment of individual lives can be achieved for many, that’s my hopes.
Anything else you want to share?
Being involved with DCW has changed my life by creatively living, learning and sharing as part of a group and also autonomously. This creative life flows through flexible work hours and time for making in my growing professional practice.
More of Sarah’s work can be found here: