Sally Burnett

Sally Burnet

“I am a designer-maker in wood, glass and ceramic. For many years I specialised in the design and manufacture of glass vessels and panels and large ceramic installations, for both private and commercial clients. 

More recently though I have become fascinated with wood, particularly creating work from freshly felled trees, timber known as green wood. A living material that moves and twists as you work it. The shapes and textures that can be created are endless.

It is a material which can be used to create both practical items and artistic creations. It can be manipulated by the artist but the many inclusions, knots and grain patterns often dictate shape and design forcing the artist to reconsider a piece during the making process. It is both a pleasure to work green wood and a challenge.” Sally Burnett

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“Initially trained in 3D design with a specialism in ceramics and glass, I have always worked with a variety of materials and it was inevitable that I would eventually turn to working in wood.

I concentrate on bowls and hollow forms introducing colour, texture and metal leaf to  my designs. I am excited by the many patterns found in nature particularly logarithmic spirals but also with architectural structures – the space that they  define, the shadows that their structures create and their dominance of the landscape. Buildings have often been the inspiration for my designs.

Turning wood is a combination of practical  skills, an intuitive sense of the wood the ‘art’ to make the most of the grain, the texture and the structure that is exposed as the log is turned.  Selecting green wood to turn, working with the grain, which has possible inherent cracks and inclusions, is technically challenging and very satisfying.

When you turn green wood the shavings are warm and damp, the studio is filled with the scent of the wood and your tools need to be kept especially sharp. You have to work fast as the wood dries as the walls become thin and the stresses in the wood can result in cracks or checks. Yew is one of my favourite woods, it is quite stable and as the wood dries there is little distortion. Sycamore, maple and cherry distort rapidly as they dry, bowls and platters often becoming oval a characteristic that can be exploited”.

Sally Burnett