A! Magazine for the Arts

Sara Reese

Sara Reese

Sara Reese has a sense of whimsy and fun

October 26, 2021

Sara Reese’s approach to portraiture is three-dimensional. She creates colorful, whimsical clay sculptures.

“I’ve made animals for many years, and this was a natural outgrowth of my work in clay. People started requesting I make favorite animals and their family pets as additions to their commissioned crèche sets. This year I am making several miniature Golden Doodles for a longtime customer to accompany a crèche as a special wedding gift.

“As an animal lover it seems a perfect ?t. I enjoy learning about these furry friends who have such strong personalities. I recently made a handsome little blue-eyed dog. In the picture I was shown he was ‘helping’ his special person drive a boat. I later learned this dog loves to skateboard. That image remains dangling in my head,” she says.

One of her favorite portraits is of her granddog and is called “Bella Playing the Saxophone.” Her grandson, Clay, plays the saxophone and clarinet in his school’s band. Bella is an Australian Cowdog.

Reese is working on a pair of Burmese cats. She has sculpted dogs, cats, cows, donkeys, rabbits, manatee, possums, raccoons, squirrels, chickens, buffalo, goats, ducks, penguins, camels, cardinals, wrens, puffns, turtles, ?sh, elephants and on and on.

She says the most unusual, commissioned piece is a ?ying squirrel playing a ?ute, and the most difficult part is getting started.

“I always feel like I need more information - pictures and stories. But it always seems to work out just ?ne. Pet owners tell me they want my sculptures to capture this special time. In other words ‘love.’ I get it. We truly love our pets. They are part of our families. They bring great joy. My colorful clay sculptures of beloved dogs and cats seem to bring a bit of joy to folks. I enjoy learning a bit about these pets,” she says.

It generally takes about six weeks for one of Reese’s custom creations. “The construction does not take that long of course, but I need to work the project into my ?ring schedule. I often have several commission pieces in process so there can be a wait time. Pottery making is a slow process which involves two kiln ?rings. It’s best not to hurry the drying process too much,” she says.

Reese studied pottery at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Penland School of Craft, Bakersville, North Carolina. She placed second in 2021 Bioexhibit Diversity Exhibit at The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia, for her brook trout and was chosen as the Virginia Highlands Festival 2005 Signature Artist.

She says she is inspired by “apparently everything. My head is full of ideas. I cannot catch up with myself.”

If you’d like to commission one of her colorful, whimsical sculptures of a favorite pet, visit Reese in her studio at The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia.

“I love it when visitors to my studio tell me, ‘Wow. What fun,’” Reese says.

She may also be reached by calling The Arts Depot at 276-628-9091 or emailing sarareeseclay@gmail.com.

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