Qcc Artist Directory

Sandra Harrington • Art Questa

About the Art

I love to work with clay because it is both pliable and strong. It is forgiving, yet has a memory. It requires focus and is at the same time relaxing.

Working on the wheel helps me to process my experiences of the world around me without words and to be in touch with my intuition and senses.

Often I imagine a pot that I do not know exactly how to make. My process of problem-solving its creation is experimental, spontaneous, messy, and quite satisfying.

And other times, my work is driven by functionality – bowls, cups, plates. These are meditations, really.


I learned to throw the most fundamental of forms, the cylinder, from Bill at the community arts center on Ft. Bragg Army Base in NC in 1987 – throwing through repetition the same weight and same form until I could throw seven consistent cylinders in one sitting.

A year later, I started graduate school at UNC to become a counselor and enrolled in Intermediate Ceramics with Setsuya Kotani. Group assessments of individual work instilled guiding principles I would call upon much later in life: What was I attempting to do? Was I/the pot successful? Why or why not?

I wouldn’t work with clay again until 1994, while working as a counselor on the Big Island of Hawaii. Charlotte Margolis, a production potter, shared her studio with me and that, my friends, was all she wrote.

It wouldn’t be long until I had my own wheel and kiln. So much of what I have learned about making pots has come through countless hours on the wheel, a great deal of failure, and tenacity!

Many pots later, I arrived in Taos, NM with my painter husband to pursue the life of a potter. We set up our first gallery, which closed after 14 months.

The team of young potters who brought wood firing to this area greatly influenced my approach to making pots and my appreciation of beauty. I jumped on the opportunity to fire with them in wood-burning Anagama kilns in Pot Creek, Talpa, and Tres Piedras, New Mexico.

And then, with much help from a few friends, I built my own wood kiln on my land outside the village of Questa. The same year I opened my little pottery shop in Questa.

My little kiln takes about two cords of wood to fire over a 32-hour cycle of continuous stoking, reaching temperatures of 2300-2400 degrees. Two potters could fill and fire this kiln, but it’s not nearly as fun as three or four!

I fire the bulk of my functional work in electric kilns and my most unique and sculptural work in the wood kiln.

We opened ArtQuesta Studios & Gallery in December of 2011.

It took a lot of pots to get here. Third time’s a charm!


Sandra Harrington
Art Questa

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