May 2020: Sara Swink & Carolynn Hazel Drake

Sara Swink: My Life in Clay. "I make hand-built clay human and animal figures with a psychological stance and a humorous edge. I use collage on paper to gather inspiration, recombining and developing ideas through sketching on paper and in clay. I use a gritty sculpture clay to form the piece, incise into the surface, bisque fire, stain to bring out the incised lines, apply color with underglazes and glazes, then fire again to cone 5. I like to riff, one idea leading to another, in an endless progression of personal narrative that reflects and feeds my inner life. I like to experiment with surface treatments, letting the piece dictate its needs.
This collection of work is called “It’s All in on Your Head [sic]”. Motifs are displayed on heads, either sitting on top or drawn on the surface. “It’s on your head” is a way of saying it’s your responsibility; “It’s all in your head” suggests you’re imagining things. My animals say these things for me without speaking a word. They are instinctive creatures and they know what they sense." 

Carolyn Hazel Drake has been working with textiles since she was a young girl in her mother’s quilt store. Her process involves hand-dyeing cotton and wool with natural plant materials and using scraps of fabric and leftover edges from cut shapes to build compositions. Her art explores the relationships between domesticity, personal histories, and memory by pairing material fragments with common visual characteristics and manipulating them until they are transformed.The imagery in this body of work is a mix of personal iconography, archetypes, and objects that are referenced as tokens of invisibility or protection in folk tales: snake, herb, seed, nest, stone. This series is titled Nobody Here But Us Statues, a common trope in films and stories, where a character stays as motionless as a statue in the hopes that they will remain unseen by and safe from a predator. Drake states: “This echoes the feeling of our current circumstances. In this strange and disorienting time, I’m compelled to make these small offerings of domestic protection and affirmations of comfort and creativity. I hope they cultivate the same meditative calm for the viewer as they do for me in their making.”