Tapping into his love of nature, ceramicist and photographer Dave Sawyer will exhibit “Wildness,” a collection of pottery and decorative wall art, at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Sept. 20-Oct. 13.
This work can be viewed at no cost Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A public reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.
“This is a celebration of nature and the importance of its wildness in our world,” Sawyer said. “As Henry David Thoreau proclaimed, ‘We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk…’ More so now than ever before, this is true,” he explained. “This exhibit is a celebration of the variety of nature throughout America and hopefully a reminder of the importance of untamed wilderness and its counterbalance to our world of civilization.”
The exhibition of 15 works will consist of both vessels and wall art that will be an “enjoyment and a reminder of the importance of nature and its wildness,” Sawyer said. “It will be an artistic interpretation of wildlife and natural environs found across America using clay as a canvas and a variety ceramic glazes and firing techniques with a combination of detailed designs and free-form expression of color.”
Sawyer has worked on this exhibit for the past year, and the pieces will be for sale, ranging in price of $50-$1500.
A native of Kansas, Sawyer’s professional career of 30-plus years was in urban planning, and he worked for various cities mostly along the Pacific Coast. He began exploring his creative side in 2008 with classes at an artisan studio and soon began working with photography as well. Now retired, he and his wife live in Greer, SC. He has no formal education or training in art but has always appreciated both photography and ceramics. Since 2016, he has been a member of West Main Artists Co-op, where he has a studio and is also the volunteer chair of the Development Committee and a member of the Management Board. He is also a member with Carolina Clay Artists in Spartanburg and Tryon Painters and Sculptors in Tryon, NC.
“I am thrilled and very blessed to have this exhibition of my ceramic work and most of all to have my granddaughter Kaydee exhibiting her awesome photography in a show of her own in the adjacent gallery here at WMAC. WMAC has provided me with an opportunity to expand my artistic experience with both wonderful studio and gallery spaces and most important of all a refreshing and enlightening collaboration with other artists in a variety of artistic mediums.”
In his artist’s statement, Sawyer says: “Much of my ceramic work uses the Western Raku technique of firing. This technique combines the interaction of clay, glaze, and fire in a rapidly changing series of environments that results in unique and often unpredictable results. I enjoy combining detailed designs with the spontaneous effects of raku glazes and firing to present elements of both structure and freedom in my pieces. My inspiration comes from the world around us and reflects my love of history and God’s great gift of nature.”
To see samples of Sawyer’s work, visit online: DRS23.com.
West Main Artists Co-op is one of the leading arts agencies in Spartanburg. The non-profit and membership-based organization is housed in a converted church at 578 West Main St. with about 30 working and/or gallery studios, three public galleries, a gift shop, a printery, a ceramics studio, and photography dark room. Each month, three exhibitions are held, showcasing the work of members and guest artists from throughout the state and region. For more information about West Main Artists Co-op, visit WestMainArtists.org.