Sara Swink at Guardino Gallery

Guardino Gallery presents:

Sea Change
new ceramic sculptures by
Sara Swink

May 31-June 26
Guardino Gallery
2939 NE Alberta, Portland, OR 97211

Below, Poisson, 2007, clay, 21″ x 19″ x 6″


In 2006, Sara Swink established Clay Circle Studio in West Linn where she creates her ceramic sculptures and teaches studio classes in clay as well as creative process workshops. Her exhibit at Guardino is stunning and has been very well received; there is still time to see the show if you have not done so. She will be participating in the Portland Open Studios Tour for the second time in October, 2007.

Sara graciously gave a private studio tour this morning to talk about her creative process.

At first glance, her work appears whimsical and light hearted. Her use of animal imagery and human figures creates combinations that are sometimes unexpected and sometimes as familiar as a mermaid. But as she says about Poisson, her fish-headed woman, “don’t be fooled.” Keep looking, and you will see mouths, gaping, exposing well formed teeth; eyes, closed, half open, downcast, or hidden behind swim goggles; surfaces, encrusted with inner thoughts, or poisonous octopus suckers, and you will know that it’s an open invitation to explore Sara’s psyche, as well as your own.

Perched between working and playing, she improvises and she creates collages, doodles, writing and sketching that she has been forming into books for many years. Through this half play, half work, she delves deeply into her conscious and unconscious self. From this beginning of images and texts on paper, through the touch of hands on wet clay, to the transformation by pigments and intense heat, a personal narrative emerges from her kiln.

She returns to these books again and again to seek meaning, understanding, and inspiration. These books are not only a treasure trove of ideas and a personal document, they are artistic objects in their own right. Like the sculptures that are the end results of this process, these books are also symbols of the connection between her (and our) inner and outer realities.


Above, a few of Sara’s working notebooks. Below, the back half of her spacious studio.


Visiting an artist’s studio is always a privilege, and Sara is a generous host who is happy to share her working methods through Portland Open Studios tours and through her creative process workshops.

For more information about Guardino Gallery, see

To learn more of Sara’s work and her classes, see

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