Sally Burnett won a showcase award, presented by the Bluecoat Display Centre, and will be showing her Corvus Nero Collection for the month of June 2017
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Sally Burnett, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Sally Burnett won a showcase award, presented by the Bluecoat, at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and will be showing her Corvus Nero Collection in the window of Bluecoat Display Centre for the month of June 2017.
Who or what got you into making?
I have always been a maker. I attended a very academic school with very little in the way of an art department but I compensated by attending evening classes in ceramics and then when on foundation at art college, spent one day a week at the Glass House in Covent Garden working with Annette Meach. This experience determined my choice of art college and I completed a multi-disciplinary design degree at Stoke.
From making blown and flat glass at college, I then worked commercially for nearly 30 years in the surface pattern design of ceramic tiles for bespoke projects and then more recently, first as a hobby and now as a full time maker, in wood.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I work with English native timbers, mainly sycamore and use a lathe to turn the shape of my open vessels. The wood is ‘green’, so recently felled, which makes it very smooth to turn and also there is flexibility in the timber, which makes it more suitable for turning open vessels. Using green wood also permits me to be more selective as to which part of the tree I use which influences how the piece will move as it dries.
The turned piece is then allowed to dry slowly to reduce the risk of cracking. It is then carved and textured using a dental drill with a variety of carbide burrs.
What are your inspirations?
The marvels of nature – from the patterns of the sand created by an outgoing tide (Fylde Coast Collection) to the complexity of a ravens wing – the overlapping layers and texture of feathers and a surface which is anything but black (Corvus Nero Collection).
Structurally though, I am drawn to architecture, particularly Santiago Calatrava and Frank Lloyd Wright. They have both given me an interest in the play of light on surfaces and perhaps that is why my current work uses texture rather than colour to explore the nature of the surface.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
Turning a large piece of wood on the lathe. You can never be quite certain what may be inside. The shavings are warm off the chisel and sometimes have a delightful smell. It is like walking in the woods after soft rain.
What are you working on right now?
I was recently fortunate enough to be the recipient of a bursary from the Worshipful Company of Turners and I used part of it to improve my gilding. With that knowledge, I am developing the Corvus Nero theme to incorporate gold, silver and metal leaf. Exploring a reflective surface rather than one that is matt.
I have just finished a small body of work for the Bluecoat Display Centre window for the month of June and now I am concentrating on new work for Handmade at Kew, curated by Dan Goode, in October.