Sarah M. Gilbert "Decomposition"
Incubation: Artists in Pursuit of Discovery

Sarah M. Gilbert "Decomposition"

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wood fired to cone 12
11" x 28" x 23"

"Decomposition is a wood fired sculpture about the triviality of death. The subject is of a deceased mouse, built to a larger-than-life scale. The size submits the viewer to the passing of a creature we often tend to not think about, its significance magnified with the increase in scale. Wood firing allowed the subject to begin the process of being reclaimed by the earth through fire and ash. The heat of the fire initiated the breakdown of the sculpture, yet not enough to render the subject indistinguishable. Death is something all living creatures on this planet experience, but in modern Western society it is often an avoided or even considered a taboo topic. Decomposition offers the observer a moment to sit with the reality and experience acceptance of mortality."

The summer assistantship at Peters Valley taught me the importance of community, which has become vital to my ceramics practice. For example, the undertakings of firing the Anagama, our group must cooperate and work together to pull off a massive operation. This project takes weeks of preparation, leading up to five days of around-the-clock participation to pull off. To continue firing wood kilns, it is crucial to have the support of other dedicated artists. I am grateful to have found myself able to help build kilns and grow with a small wood firing community in central New Jersey. The strong sense of belonging to a greater purpose which was cultivated at Peters Valley will continue to be the foundation I work upon. 

Sarah M. Gilbert, Matawan, NJ
Sarah “Monster” Gilbert is a Ceramic Artist born and raised in central New Jersey. Gilbert’s work includes pottery adorned with drawings and sculptures featuring both real and imagined creatures. She has shown in several group shows, including those held at Peters Valley School of Craft and the Art School at Old Church. Gilbert's first foray into the ceramic art world began when she won first place in “Clay in Mind,” a juried show at The Clay Studio in 2006. This ignited her journey as a Ceramic Artist leading to 2013 when she earned her BFA in ceramics and illustration from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Following her success at Rowan, she received a summer assistantship at Peters Valley. Growing up working at a local veterinary clinic as a technician has been a constant inspiration and continually informs her work. Gilbert assisted wood fire potter John Reinking from 2016-2018 and continues to fire with the local community surrounding his anagama wood kiln.

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