AUS­TRALIA

SHIBUI Issue - - CONTENTS - CU­RA­TOR KA­RINA EAST­WAY THE MAKER SAN­DRA TYSON PHOTOS SAN­DRA TYSON COUN­TRY AUS­TRALIA

San­dra Tyson’s change in ca­reer re­sults in stun­ning, tex­tual ce­ram­ics.

WHEN SAN­DRA TYSON WAS DI­AG­NOSED WITH A RARE FORM OF HEART DIS­EASE, SHE HAD NO IDEA IT WOULD LEAD TO A COM­PLETE CHANGE IN CA­REER DI­REC­TION. THE RE­SULTS ARE STUN­NING: UNIQUE, TEX­TU­RAL AND CRE­ATIVE CE­RAMIC PIECES MADE WITH LOVE.

Where are you from orig­i­nally and where are you based now?

I was born in New Ply­mouth, Taranaki, which is a small beachside town on the west coast of the north is­land of New Zealand.

I lived there for 21 years, af­ter which I moved to Vic­to­ria and even­tu­ally the Gold Coast, Queens­land, Aus­tralia.

You came to pot­tery in a very un­usual way. Can you tell us a lit­tle more about that?

I nursed for 29 years in a Neu­ro­sur­gi­cal Depart­ment and at the age of 36 was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of heart dis­ease. Be­cause of its rar­ity it took around 10 years to di­ag­nose.

The di­ag­no­sis has been very re­stric­tive and I can no longer ex­er­cise. It’s ex­ac­er­bated by ex­treme heat or cold. As a re­sult I am in hos­pi­tal quite reg­u­larly.

Your style is in­cred­i­bly unique – was that a di­rec­tion you wanted to take or did it hap­pen or­gan­i­cally?

I have al­ways been drawn to any­thing with tex­ture, any­thing hand­made and quirky. I guess you could say it hap­pened or­gan­i­cally.

What’s the think­ing be­hind the rus­tic qual­ity of your work?

Be­ing born in NZ and spend­ing most of my child­hood on my friends’ farms and own­ing a horse, I have al­ways had a love for barns, coun­try style, vin­tage, an­tiques; es­sen­tially any­thing rus­tic. Trav­el­ling is also a huge in­spi­ra­tion as I love to col­lect hand­made pieces from the places I visit. I am al­ways on the look­out for tex­tu­ral pieces that I can use on my clay. Even my hus­band finds pieces for me now.

What drew you to pot­tery and how did you go about learn­ing the art form?

It was al­ways on my bucket list to try pot­tery. I am one of those crafty girls who is al­ways cross stitch­ing, cro­chet­ing or dy­ing fab­rics! My friends have al­ways teased me and said you are like an old lady, but once I started pot­tery I was hooked. I also re­alised that while my mind was ac­tively en­gaged in pot­tery, I soon for­got about the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing a heart at­tack.

What pieces do you en­joy mak­ing the most?

I love mak­ing bowls, crosses, my frilly plates and pretty much any­thing with a lot of tex­ture. I love mak­ing spoons but be­lieve it or not, as sim­ple as they ap­pear, they are one of the hard­est pieces to make.

We love your tex­tu­ral style and in­tri­cate pat­terns – where does your in­spi­ra­tion come from?

It comes from any­thing re­ally. Sticks, plants, shells, na­ture, garage sales, un­usual ma­te­rial.… you name it; I see in­spi­ra­tion in it.

What’s next on your bucket list?

Good ques­tion. I would like to write a book about how you can turn a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive. I of­ten hash­tag my In­sta­gram posts with #liv­ing­with­heart­dis­ease and post photos of my­self in ED. I don’t do

this to draw at­ten­tion to my­self but more so to cre­ate aware­ness. I get a lot of feed­back and some beau­ti­ful mes­sages from peo­ple I don’t even know about their own per­sonal bat­tles so I like to think I am help­ing other peo­ple. My heart dic­tates how much I make and how my day will tran­spire. I have had a go at the pot­tery wheel and it’s def­i­nitely some­thing I want to mas­ter as I am cur­rently fo­cus­ing on the art of hand build­ing. I also want to do more fab­ric dye­ing as I love us­ing ma­te­rial for my back­drops in my photos. I also used to do wood carv­ing at school so that is some­thing else I would love to have an­other crack at.

I also present reg­u­larly at the Gold Coast Hos­pi­tal and pro­vide clin­i­cians with my jour­ney in deal­ing with a chronic ill­ness in the form of a speak­ing work­shop, so I would love to con­tinue to mo­ti­vate peo­ple, even though I am very much a fledg­ling pub­lic speaker.

My hus­band and daugh­ter are my big­gest sup­port­ers and he­roes and I also have some beau­ti­ful friends who con­tinue to sup­port me and my craft.

Words of ad­vice for any­one con­tem­plat­ing a sim­i­lar change in ca­reer di­rec­tion?

I would say go for it. You never know where it can take you. Be­fore you take that leap of faith, read, read, read. And when you’ve read enough, read some more. Also find some­one in your cho­sen field and ask ques­tions. Knowl­edge is ev­ery­thing. This for me is more of a hobby but I am proud to say that I have lovely peo­ple who pur­chase my work. I still can’t get my head around the fact that peo­ple ac­tu­ally love my quirky, rus­tic, be­spoke pieces. If it doesn’t work out, rest in the knowl­edge that you have tried and if it does, well good for you. You don’t want to be that per­son who says, if only I had done that. Hand­made seems to be much more ap­pre­ci­ated these days and work­shops are pop­ping up ev­ery­where which I think is both amaz­ing and ex­cit­ing.

We’re all about trav­ellers dis­cov­er­ing lo­cal ar­ti­sans. What’s your favourite place to visit and top travel tip?

Good ques­tion… I re­ally love the ar­chi­tec­ture of Italy and Paris and the cul­ture of Ja­pan and New Zealand. My main travel tip would be to AL­WAYS keep a travel dairy. They are amaz­ing to look back on for in­spi­ra­tion and ideas. Ad­di­tion­ally I’d en­cour­age peo­ple to get off the beaten track and ex­plore how the lo­cals live, ex­plore what they cre­ate and the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind their story. It doesn’t mat­ter where you are in the world; ev­ery­one has a story. There are so many tal­ented and cre­ative peo­ple in the world. The craft in

Ja­pan ab­so­lutely blew me away, it was a vis­ual and sen­sory feast in such a good way. To sum it up I would say look, learn, ask and write it down. Oh and don’t for­get to take photos. But if you’re tak­ing photos of peo­ple’s per­sonal crafts, just make sure you get the owner’s con­sent. That sort of thing is very im­por­tant to some peo­ple. I take my cam­era ev­ery­where and I of­ten take photos of the lo­cals do­ing their thing in their en­vi­ron­ment. Pho­tog­ra­phy is a pas­sion of mine (al­though I am far from a pro­fes­sional) but for me, photos hold spe­cial mem­o­ries and tell a great story.

“I HAVE AL­WAYS BEEN DRAWN TO ANY­THING WITH TEX­TURE, ANY­THING HAND­MADE AND QUIRKY.” SAN­DRA TYSON

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