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A Creative Journey: From Teaching to Making with Sara Piper-Heap

Follow a path that has taken Sara from the classroom to the studio, from teaching to making. As an artist working with metal and clay, Sara has discovered a world of inspiration, challenges, and immense satisfaction - read on to find out more!


A copperbwol with dogs and landscape detail

How did your journey start?

left secondary school teaching in 2006 to do an Applied Arts Degree course (metal, glass, and ceramics). I enjoyed working with clay but fell in love with metal. I've been working with metal and/or clay ever since.


How long have you been making/creating?

I've always been a maker, learning to knit and sew at an early age. Always curious to create, I made various items for my house—like a mosaic in the 'coal hole' and a painted glass window for my shed—until I went to uni and learned the skills I now use. I set up my own studio in 2009.


Have you taken any courses or earned any qualifications to enhance your skills?

Applied Arts at Glyndwr (formerly North East Wales Institute NEWI, now Wrexham University).


How would you describe your creative journey so far?

Fabulous! I'm never going to be rich, but I am very happy and entirely grateful to be making things that I really enjoy. I hope my work brings joy to others.


A copper scultural clock with a dog riding a tricycle

Where do you get your ideas?

This varies a great deal. Sometimes I feel like I've shaken my head and an idea fell out; other times, it might be inspiration from a song, a poem, or a funny comment. Occasionally, it's about my own curiosity. For example, I absolutely love automata and have been determined to get at least one working using metal. My 'Kingfishing' sculpture is a direct result of this—it took me ages and many iterations to get it right.


What is your favourite medium?

Copper! (and I really like Meccano).


Do you have a favourite subject to represent?

Animals, especially birds (Corvids).


Where do you work?

In my studio in Oswestry.


Have there been any significant turning points in your career?

Leaving teaching in 2006 - that was a massive decision.


Can you share some highlights or memorable moments from your career?

Getting the Kingfishing Automata to work and finally being pleased with the finished result.


A copper clock with leaping hares

Do you listen to anything while you work?

Yes! Podcasts and books on Audible.


When do you find it best to work, and do you have a preferred time of day?

Mid-afternoon tends to be a bit of a lull, but otherwise, I often work at any time during the day and often on weekends. Many of my workshops and courses are held on weekends.


Do you have a daily routine?

Get up, go to the studio with the dog, turn on the pickle, the lights, and the kettle, walk the dog. Work until lunch. A couple of times a week, I'll meet people for lunch (such is life). Walk the dog back from the café, make in the afternoon while listening to a book, possibly a Zoom coffee with friends, then home around 6ish. Yoga twice a week and printing once a week.


What would your ideal creative day be?

As above - preferably not too hot or too cold, with soldered joints working well on the first try, and a bit of interaction with other makers to ensure I don't go insane in my own little world!


What’s in your mug when you're working?

Strong black tea.


Do you have a favourite snack?

Strong black coffee.


A photograph of a ruined castle on a grassy hill with a background of sunset coloured sky

Thank you for taking the time to read about Sara's creative journey - we hope it's inspired you to try something new!


You can find more of Saras work online at her website, Facebook and Instagram pages.


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