Friday, November 27, 2020

The clay lady

Working out an organic wall hanging.

Working out an organic wall hanging.

By Tara O’Neill

I think there may be more than 24 hours to a day in the world of clay artist Sandy Moore Howe. First, the former Fulbright Scholar is indeed a clay artist extraordinaire; her innovative treatments of the material continues to stretch the imagination and delight the eye. Add to that her work at the Art League of Marco Island: instructor in ceramics, Clay Guild backbone, Festival Chairperson, Gallery Committee member and tireless volunteer. For the last year she has been a member of the thriving Artist Colony at the Esplanade and now she takes up a booth next to husband photographer Barry Howe at the Farmers Market in Veterans Park.

Really. Where does all that time come from? Did I mention she has three cats.

Sandy began working in clay in 1968 while earning a BFA at University of North Carolina and continued with a two year pottery and glaze chemistry program at the Brooklyn Museum School in New York. This led to becoming a founding partner of 78th Street Pottery in Manhattan. “We were 3 women who wanted to make our living in clay,” she says. Decisive

Finished piece.

Finished piece.

moments like that are what help define a courageous life. But her courage did not end there.

While spending five years on Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain, Sandy built a wheel and a kiln. In further travels she began re-thinking the purpose and value of clay. “In India clay is very disposable. Travelers would toss their tiny clay cups out the window after drinking chai – the tracks are littered with chards.” She brought these insights back to North Carolina where she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics with a minor in Art History.

Then off to Korea as a Fulbright Scholar of ceramic arts. “The influence of Asian form and technique is recognizable in my work and I combine these with a European tradition of functional pottery.” She acknowledges texture and form as the identifying principles of her work.

Sandy Morre Howe has exhibited internationally in one woman shows, fine art festivals, and invitational gallery exhibits. She has taught every level from elementary school to university to art center workshops.

“I have a way with clay…I love the way it responds to my touch when

Sandy Moore Howe. Submitted photos

Sandy Moore Howe. Submitted photos

I am in harmony with the material and the making. Working in clay, for me, is a ritual.”

A note on the Clay Guild at Marco’s Art League: formed in 2002 by a group of passionate students and teachers who wanted a voice in the management of the clay studio and the ability to take it to a higher functioning level. Donations were made and raffles and fundraisers were held to buy wheels, kilns (including a Raku kiln), extruders, slab rollers, and everything else needed to create a state of the art studio. Fortunately, Marnie Pugh, a potter, was on the original building committee and fought for the space needed and the purchase of 10 electric wheels. Today, new students are encouraged to join the Guild which holds monthly meetings and occasional lunches. Contact Sandy Moore Howe at claylady21@aol.com or 239.293.5428.

Tara O’Neill, a lifelong artist, has been an area resident since 1967. She holds Bachelors Degrees in both Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida, Tampa, and currently has a studio-gallery at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island. She can be contacted through her web site www.taraogallery.com.

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