Red wears her auburn hair in pigtails as she arranges the sprays of white orchids for my daughter's wedding. She has been up all night, polishing silver, creating tablescapes, arranging for the zillionth time seashells and driftwood, sterling candelabra and curly willow, a turquoise remnant of her favorite linen casually thrown 'just so' over a sea of espresso-colored silk. I can peel shrimp and make stuffed brie. I can make sure a tiny orchid is ready to go into every chilled stemmed glass. Only Red can transform the room like Tinker Bell with a wand.
Although she comes to my house for every major holiday and we hug and fight back tears at every family tragedy or celebration, Red does not have the same accent I do. Hers is rich in Kentucky burgoo and genuflecting at an early age. Yet To Kill A Mockingbird affected her young life much in the same way it influenced mine. I write my art with my fingers. She molds hers with her hands.
Red is a ceramic artist whose favorite subjects are teapots and books. To Kill A Mockingbird and other childhood novels have been favorite subjects through the years in her whimsical sculptures as well as her three dimensional, multimedia paintings. The fact that she has work in the Smithsonian has not affected her spontaneous love of all art. She will stop work on her own pieces to spend an afternoon with a couple of children, creating a tea party complete with handmade teapots and cups, allowing the children to shape the concepts and designs. When asked why she choses books and teapots as recurring themes, she said:
They represent containment. A book contains stories, information, and lessons. A teapot, metaphorically, holds ideas that are filtered, brewed, steeped, and poured out for fulfillment and understanding. These two objects become symbols of the information, informed truths, childhood experiences, battles won and lost, and rules of etiquette we acquire as we grow from children to adults, through reading and living.
Look at her work at www.ferringallery.com/dynamic/artist_bio.asp?artistID=19
Or read more at http://www.criticalceramics.org/reviews/shows/sandlin.shtml