SARAH KERSTEN STUDIO
ISSUE 02 "BLACK & WHITE' March 2017
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SARAH KERSTEN
LOCATED IN SUNNY BERKELY, CALIFORNIA, SARAH KERSTEN WORKS WITH HIGH FIRED STONEWARE FOR ITS STRENGTH AND SUBTLE HUES.
MAKING POTTERY IS WHAT HELPS GROUND HER IN TODAYS WORLD OF PLASTIC AND HIGH-TECHS. ALL OF HER DESIGNS ARE MADE TO BE FUNCTIONAL AND USED IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STUDIO
My studio is located in West Berkeley! I’m lucky to be in a historic manufacturing building that was split into dozens of small artist studios over 40 years ago. My studio neighbors include dancers, sewers, glass blowers, other ceramicists, jewelers, painters, a ukulele builder, and many more. In my studio, I’m most proud of my gas kiln, which I installed almost three years ago. It’s a car kiln, meaning, the wares sit on a cart that gets pushed into the body of the kiln when it’s time to fire. It’s in the center of the space, and really feels like the heart.
YOU STARTED OUT BY MAKING FERMENTATION JARS. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THAT JOURNEY.
I’ve made pottery since I was a kid, but hadn’t considered doing it for a living. In lieu of college, I was pursuing some type of education by working on farms. On the farms, we all got into making fermented foods, and at the request of friends, I reluctantly started making jars. I quickly became obsessed with the form and the technical challenge of the project, and I’ve been making Fermentation Jars ever since. I really believe in Fermented Foods, and that helped me persevere through some challenges that have come up along the way.
DO YOU WORK ALONE?
Not anymore! I used to, but now I have a few studio assistants who help with the production work.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I find making useful objects that become part of people’s lives and stories to be tremendously gratifying. I also really love that I’ve been able to turn my pottery into a business that involves my studio assistants, chefs, and stores. I love that by pursuing my love of making objects, I’ve found a way to connect with people. Having a business is a creative act. ¶
DO YOU TAKE COMMISSIONS? I don’t!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE AND WHY?
I’m very partial to the Fermentation Jars! I’m also partial to my new line of functional bowls.
WHERE CAN YOUR PIECES BE FOUND?
On my website, at a few restaurants here in the bay area, and at various stores!