Sarah Villeneau Talk and Interview

August 19th, 2016  |  Published in Events, Interviews, News, Uncategorized

Sarah Villeneau Talk and Interview

Installation and Talk at MADE NORTH Gallery
Saturday 20th August 12.00-1.00pm

Join us on Saturday 20th August. 12.00-1.00pm for an informal talk by Sarah Villeneau, Sarah will also have an installation of her work. Please also read an interview with Sarah below.

This is part of a series of talks to highlight greater public engagement with makers. We have invited Sarah Villeneau based at Yorkshire Artspace to show work in our Maker Library platform space in the Made North Gallery. This will be accompanied by an informal public talk and/or demonstration about her work where you can meet and discuss any interests you may have in ceramics

The talks are part of our Maker Library research that connects designers and makers. It facilitates knowledge and skills exchange amongst professionals and encourages public engagement with making.


Please use the button below to reserve a place for Saturday’s talk.

RSVP - Invitation to Maker Talk by Sarah Villeneau

Featured Maker Interview

In 2014 Sarah completed an MA in Studio Ceramics at Loughborough University. This new body of work emerged from the MA and is a significant departure from her previous work. A marked difference is the absence of any reference to the traditional vessel form, and the use of a variety of textured and reactive glazes.

The sculpture aims to capture the essence of the organic, and, like the organic, emerges through the process of making, rather than being fully designed beforehand. Using textured slabs and modelling processes, Sarah tickles, pinches and pushes the clay into an abstract shape that she has partly manipulated, whilst also allowing the clay to “do its own thing”. Sarah hopes to retain the sense of movement and fluidity of the soft clay through the ‘natural’ folds and creases that result. The textured surfaces of the clay slab also work to emphasise this through the distortion that occurs where the clay is stretched.

The textured slab forms the ‘backbone’ to the piece and is like the artist’s canvas – a blank surface to work on. Unlike the stretched canvas, however, the slab has become a complex form which has its own logic which need to be worked out and understand in order to create a more fully rounded 3D object.

Inspiration is all around; Sarah is particularly drawn to bodily organs, primitive lifeforms and images seen under the microscope. She is interested in how the same patterns, forms and textures in nature are found in myriad applications and scales creating a connecting thread throughout the known world. The work is visceral, organic and tactile, suggestive of a lifeform that may once, in fact, have lived and breathed.


We caught up with Sarah to try and get a greater understanding of how she works. Please read below Q+A.

Who or what inspired you to become a ceramicist
My parents went every year to the student shows at Alfred University in New York where I grew up, so I guess they were collectors in a small way, and my mother did pottery evening classes. Her brother also became a potter in later life after leaving the army. So perhaps it was in the blood. However, it wasn’t until I did a pottery evening class in London that I fell in love with the material and thought about making it my life’s work. When I’d been attending for a few weeks and went in one day to find my “Inside/Outside” bowl on display in the glass cabinet, my fate was sealed.

How would you describe your work?
Abstract organic sculpture. Visceral, challenging. Experimental. Thought-provoking, suggestive, ambiguous. Textured and earthy. Tactile.


Please describe your experience working within Yorkshire Artspace.
It’s great working within a supported studio building; I love the dialogue with other artists, the support of both staff and artists, feeling part of a community and participating in collaborative projects. It’s really important to feel valued as an artist and, for me, Yorkshire Artspace offers that.

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What would be your dream project?
I have had a dream project in mind for some time, and am currently looking at ways to make it happen. It is to do with creating a Cabinet of Curiosity, working in collaboration with scientific institutions – the Natural History Museum, or the Wellcome Trust – developing a collection of my own “specimens” which are presented in a quasi scientific taxonomical system which examines the way that we have historically named, categorised, pinned down and organised knowledge. The joy would be in researching museum specimens, studying how and why they are organised in the way that they are, and producing pieces in response for which I devise my own system of organisation and naming which has a logic and meaning of its own.


Find out more about Sarah’s work, visit

Twitter: @s_vills
Instagram: sarah_villeneau_ceramics


YAS    images  YOM

Opening Times:
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
12.00am to 5.00pm
11.00am to 4.00pm

MADE NORTH Design & Craft Gallery
Yorkshire Artspace
Persistence Works
21 Brown Street
S1 2BS


MADE NORTH is a platform for northern designer/makers. MADE NORTH brings together the industry in an annual conference; showcases and promotes work via contemporary gallery space in the heart of Sheffield and online It will also designer/makers through a membership, events and network programme.

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