Sally MacDonell | ...there is more we share in common than divides us...

Sally MacDonell with her work
For our current display feature, we are showing three makers: Dennis Farell, Sally MacDonell and Neil MacDonell. Both Sally and Neil work with the human figure. They share a studio in Bath, working independently, although they will often exhibit their work together. 

We begin our exploration of their ceramic practice with a look at the work of Sally MacDonell. Sally is continually fascinated by people and the human condition, which she explores by modelling the female form from clay.

Work is on display and for sale in the gallery from September to the end of December 2019.

More images can be found on our Instagram

Sally MacDonell

An early start ...
I like to start early in the studio before the rest of the house has stirred. Rolling clay with the radio; intuitively beginning with a notion maybe carried from the day before. I model each piece spontaneously pinching and squeezing slabs to form the female body. Leaving the joins revealed as evidence of the process and to hold elements of colour in the glazing. My building technique involves pushing out from the inside to give the former twist of the waist or tilt of the shoulder expressing a familiar transient moment. My aim is to connect with the viewer - to prompt a feeling of common humanity. 

Sally MacDonell | Three Torsos

The studio...

The studio is full of faces; images of artworks; pictures from magazines; family photos. My fascination and love of people have only deepened over the years. My habit of people-watching provides constant inspiration. Early memories of summer gatherings spilling over summer lawns; the quiet intimacy of a confidence shared between sisters. Such are the everyday moments of human intercourse that I seek to express. 

Sally MacDonell | Head
I have shared a studio in Bath with my husband Neil, ( known for his ceramic face constructions) for the last 25 years. We often show together, travelling regularly to America in the 1990’s to show in Baltimore and New York. 

Attending Potfest in 1995 introduced us to a lifestyle and network of potters that was to lead us to ceramic markets and festivals across Europe with very small children in tow! 

Sally MacDonell | Figures

Larger scale work...

Now, as said children complete their studies at school and university I have a renewed vigour to create larger scale work. I feel my faces have a strength and confidence. Their gaze more direct. Determined to share that commonality which allows us to be outward-looking and recognise how underneath it all there is more we share in common than divides us


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