Sara Swink moved from Illinois and grew up in California in the 60’s, where she absorbed the Funk Movement influences of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her love of clay began at an early age, buying her first potter's wheel with money earned cleaning houses, while in High School. In her early 20s she had a career in graphic design and did not return to ceramics until she took a class at Palo Alto Art Center some twenty years later.
In 1998 she met Coeleen Kiebert, who fused art making and ceramics with the psychology of the creative individual. Swink studied Kiebert’s work and teaching approach, while also pursuing an academic art education in art history, ceramics, drawing, printmaking and foundry work at Foothill College, San Jose State University, and San Francisco State University. She has continued to marry intellect, self-knowledge and practicality through her work.
“I make clay human and animal figures with a psychological stance. My hand-built sculptural works impart ideas through stories, often with a humorous edge. I've always loved animals and enjoy expressing human foibles through the animal persona. I like to form fast in a gritty sculpture clay, incise into the clay, bisque fire, finish with oxides, underglazes and glazes, then fire to cone 5. My ideas derive most often from a process methodology that I teach in workshops, which employs simple and accessible techniques like collage and doodling to unleash the unconscious. Then I try to stay out of the way, letting ideas flow, selecting the ones that most resonate to bring into clay. I also get ideas from what I’m reading, a phrase or concept that triggers an idea for a piece. I sketch a lot, and one piece often leads to more ideas. There is a thread of personal narrative that runs through all my ceramic work. Reflection and writing help me to recognize and make some sense of the progression. It’s the process of inner exploration that keeps me moving forward.”
Sara Swink moved to Oregon in 2006, where she established Clay Circle Studio and continues to show and teach. In 2013, Sara was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Oregon Art Beat”. She is a member of Oregon Potters Association and exhibits annually at OPA Ceramic Showcase in Portland.