Practice Genre and techniques: Ceramic (Clay /Pottery specialising in Raku Firing, Pit Firing and Saggar Firing)
Location: Western Australia.

I met this artist mid-2019 by chance and she quietly offered to help me with a project I had in mind. And oh my, was I in for a treat. Sharon has an affinity with clay, glazes and firing that is natural and effortless. At least that is what it seems like when you listen to her explain processes involved with ceramics as her passion is infectious. I'm so grateful that I met Sharon, not only because of what she has taught me but because of her abilities. During the pandemic, she kindly offered to film for my students the correct methods of pinch-pot, coiling and slab techniques. A marvel.

Sharon Mackay, ceramics artist, is a creative who is quiet, unassuming and unaware of her own amazing ability. On her Instagram page Shazmaccreations she opens with; Returned to my love of clay in October 2018... some 35 years later. More passion than ever. Hope you join me in my emergence'. Instead of sharing her personal photo, and many words, she has asked that the ceramic pieces within the gallery are her 'portrait'. So be it. Just like her, they are pure skill. 

JFP: Hi Sharon and thank you so much for being part of our Creative Isolation and Beyond. I'm so excited we have you with us. Tell us about 'you'

SM: Returned to clay after 35 years in 2018 with more passion than ever. Loving playing, creating and experimenting with everything to do with clay and ceramics. I am extremely excited to see what is ahead.

JFP: Could you describe a bit about your creative process, your favourite themes, mediums/genres? Anything you would like to share about what inspires you to keep creating, believing in your abilities?

SM: Taking a ball of clay and manipulating it until I am happy with my creation.Very excited about Raku and Pit firing as it is organic, unpredictable and can result in unique creations that can never be replicated.

JFP: Have you ever experienced a creative block or time in your career as a creative where things were difficult that made it difficult to practice your craft? Would you mind sharing that in some way? How did it affect you? How did you move on from that?

SM: I use my craft as a form of meditation and relaxation. If I experience a creative block, I change my thought by doing something different as there are many components in producing ceramics. This gives me the opportunity of refocusing and realigning my thought patterns. I guess, somewhat, I am taking a break from one process that I can move forward with to refocus on another.

JFP: What would you advise someone in a creative block/to move on with their craft to do? What are some steps, some words of encouragement you could give them? (Or even a source/book/person/etc to look towards?)

SM: I would suggest you research other artists to see processes that appeal to you. Analyse a piece by colour, shape, materials etc. Try to imagine why and how the piece was created and put yourself in the creators' shoes and thought process. This will help you move forward with your creativity.

JFP: Some succinct and great points there, thank you, Sharon. I know when working with you myself, I certainly learnt a lot. The enthusiasm you have for your craft is catching.

Let's have a look at some of your amazing pieces in the gallery. 

Links: Instagram Shazmaccreations   Interview/podcast with 'Makercast: Makercast by Morgan James Smith