This holiday season we are happy to feature the work of artist and designer, Sarah Mitchell-Davison of ARC ceramics. Striking a balance between fine art and relevant design, Sarah's work combines sculptural elements with regard to minimalism and functionality.
Sarah was kind enough to give us a virtual visit into her creative process and what inspires her.
Sarah Mitchell-Davison; founder of Arc Ceramics. I work and design out of my own studio in the remote hamlet of West Kill within the Catskill Mountains. We were based in Ft Greene Brooklyn for 14 plus years and decided to make the leap from part time to full time residents about three years ago.
We love it up here and feel really lucky to be part of this community.
My practice has evolved into table-top sculptures and functional tableware using traditional wheel and hand-building techniques. My approach, at its foundation, is a creative expression of form, movement and texture that fuses functional design with a distinctly modern and minimal aesthetic.
How long have you been making ceramics?
It started a few years ago as a way to connect creatively to a different medium from my product/fashion
design background. Working with clay has been fulfilling on a level I never expected. I love it and I'm continually excited by the possibilities of this material.
What inspires you creatively?
Lately I've really been into interior design books from the 1960's and 70's. It's so rich in organic shapes, textured and muted tones. At
the same time I'm fascinated by the almost rigid minimalistic structures from the Bauhaus era.
Environment and surroundings are definitely fundamental elements to my creative inspiration. I love where we live and much of my work is directly inspired by nature. The boulders and rocks in a nearby creek spawned a new body of abstract hand-built work.
I often like to work in a series. Starting with designing on paper, sketching out all variations, before realizing concepts in clay. I love the creative concept process watching it evolve from piece to piece.
Your work combines sculptural elements with a regard for minimalism and functionality. How does this inform other elements of your personal style?
There's a quiet elegance in a simple and well designed object or space. There is a timeless feel to it that really resonates with me. I seem to be continually drawn to that in clothing, shoes, home or other goods.
For my personal style I've embraced the tomboy spirit but weave in a few feminine touches to balance it out. I lean towards timeless pieces that I can really live in with the ease and comfort. I often layer new and vintage to add a little understated elegance.
The same approach applies to my living environment. I love mixing vintage with modern pieces to create a warm, comfortable environment.
This year marked our 20th Anniversary! You've been in the industry and around Coclico for many years, do you have a favorite memory of Coclico; or any timeless styling advice you'd like to share with our followers?
Comfort and style is high on my list for footwear. Coclico embodies both of those things and they're incredibly well made.
A couple of summers ago my husband and I spent a little time road tripping in central Italy by car. Stopping along the way to explore small mountain villages and towns on foot. I brought along my favorite pair of summer shoes, a pair of grey suede espadrille Coclico lace-ups.I almost wore them out walking the cobblestone streets and back roads. I love these shoes (!!) and wearing them brings back so many good memories.
This holiday season looks different than past years. Have you found that your creative process has changed because of how our daily lives have changed?
With fewer orders I had more time to reflect and explore other creative projects in the studio. Creating new work without a deadline was in one sense freeing and fun but also a place where I could process my distressed feelings about the pandemic, the state of our country and world events.
It also seemed like the perfect time for other creative endeavors. We built ourselves a vegetable garden from the ground up. This project took a lot of sweat, sunburns and pesky rock removal. All totally worth it. It's been immensely rewarding to be able to watch things change and grow.
I am grateful that I get to work from home in such a beautiful and inspiring place. It continues to be my sanctuary, keeping me balanced and centered.
What are your favorite holiday rituals?
Since many of our family members are spread out these days, the traditions have had to evolve over the years. Some years everyone in the family is together, others we celebrate on a more intimate scale. No matter where we are, cooking a big dinner and sharing stories is the one thing that comes closest to a tradition.
With our move upstate we started a new ritual, tree cutting (on our property). We put on our hiking boots and go in search of the perfect little tree. And in the spring time we plant tree seedlings to renew the growth of our woods.
This holiday season shop our selection of ARC ceramics.