Jackie Saunders 


If not now, when?

Endless driving for my past career, my eyes drinking up endless contrast and beauty, Aotearoa taunted my creative soul.

Our stunning scenery was indeed a powerful catalyst, it called to me to drastically change my life at the age of 50.

What would it be like to just stop and get off the wheel?

To actually pursue a long-postponed passion for art and creativity?

So I did it, I had to answer the question that had become my travel buddy, if not now, when?

I felt at my age I had no time to muck around so I got stuck in.

Researching, absorbing, trial and error.

I am largely self-taught, I find the enormous diversity of ceramics incredibly stimulating.

The seemingly infinite possibilities of technique, firing methods, and the many art forms it encompasses make it both challenging and captivating.

Nature provides endless inspiration, the colours I saw throughout Central Otago, Southland and Canterbury are etched in my soul, turquoise lakes atop dams, craggy volcanic rocks, bright white snow, fluorescent lime rapeseed fields in the distance, blue, blue skies, fluffy white clouds. 

The amazing multi-coloured lupins of the Lindis rippling ahead of and around me, feeling like I was riding a magic carpet in a Disney movie. Just incredible.

The ever-changing light, the gold and the twinkling night skies of the MacKenzie Country.

The seashore, with its windswept sand dunes, swaying beach grass, driftwood, shells, the many hues of the sea, metallic rocks, glittering sand all live within my palette, particularly in my Aotearoa Collection.

I focus primarily on decorative, creative work.

I find Raku irresistible, the raw, primal, spontaneous nature of burning horsehair and feathers into hot burnished vessel surfaces.

Saggar firing, and the random patterns of naked raku are my favourites.

The final reveal as the slip falls away or the saggar is cracked open make my heart race with anticipation.

I create a range of large scale wall installations which often feature shadow play.

I am very attracted to works that play with pattern, light or negative space.

Sculptural wall buttons and wall-hung pieces evolved in response to my visual preference in that not everything on a wall is framed. 

I find organic shapes offer a softness, a more fluid visual experience.

Fantasy florals and corals emerge intuitively from the feel of the clay in my hands on the day.

Often they are my treat to myself, especially when I'm wanting to switch from a controlled, precise activity to a loose, creative project. I feel like there is a brain switch from left to right.

I do make some functional work, usually with a decorative aspect in the finishing.

While I have immense respect for production potters, I have no desire to be one.

It took me some in-depth contemplation as to why I am a Ceramic Artist and not something else.

Inherently I am fascinated by metamorphosis and transformation.

Clay much like ourselves experiences molding, shaping, many stresses, exposures to extreme situations, often pushed well beyond its limits and yet it endures, it matures, it transforms and it reveals its character, strengths and true beauty. This parallel speaks to me.

I work from my rural home studio in Leithfield, North Canterbury and visits to my studio are welcome. 

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JaxPots - Home Studio 39 Smiths Road, Leithfield, North Canterbury