Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Johnston.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My mom is an artist and retired Art Teacher and my father is a retired School Psychologist. Growing up, I was always exposed to art and quickly fell in love with all things art related. I graduated from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a focus in Ceramics. After graduating, I taught in community centers and schools for troubled youth. I immediately saw how art connected people to one another and themselves in a very natural and positive way, no matter the age or background of the person. I continued to incorporate art and specifically clay into the work I did in alternative education. I become the Director of a Senior Center in the city of Pittsburgh after leaving the alternative education system. During my time there, I continued to teach clay classes to the senior population. In these classes, I continued to witness the benefits of art in people’s lives. My family and I moved to the Orlando area 4 years ago, and I started my own business Sarah Johnston Ceramics. I am currently working on creating a nonprofit that will focus on bringing clay classes to the community that are centered around self-care, meditation, and community arts.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road to get to where I am now. I have always known that I wanted to create my own art, as well as help others learn how to connect with themselves through the arts but was not sure how to effectively accomplish this goal. It took a lot of trial and error in traditional jobs to narrow down the most fulfilling and effective way for me to accomplish this goal. While working in alternative education, I loved interreacting and connecting with others through art but felt that the system was broken. I found that there was an unreasonable workload and high level of stress with not a lot of support when working with troubled youth in alternative education. The burnout rate of people working in social service jobs is so high, and it is such a crucial support in so many communities. When working at the Senior Center, I witnessed a very negative stigma associated with our aging population and the need for a holistic support system for them. I hope that by starting my nonprofit, I can support those who need in it in a creative and personal way.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I currently run my business, Sarah Johnston Ceramics, where I create ceramic fine art and functional ware. I also create meditation and gratitude bowls. These bowls can be used to help center yourself throughout the day, help develop a daily practice of gratitude and add beauty and gentle reminders throughout your home and office. A year ago, I started offering Pinch Pot Meditation Sessions along with other clay classes at Fun at the Hand in Oviedo. In the Pinch Pot Meditation Sessions, I guide people through a short 5-minute meditation while pinching a ball of clay. I then teach participants how to add words, images, textures, and color to the pot they made during the meditation. I fire them in a kiln and return them when complete. Groups and individuals can request a mobile Pinch Pot Meditation Session in their community as well. I am in the process of starting a nonprofit that focuses on bringing connection to communities through clay classes. These classes will focus on mindfulness, self-care, and community arts. I am hoping to find a home base for my nonprofit in the Orlando Area. As this nonprofit grows, my goal is to create community-focused mosaiced murals throughout Orlando and the surrounding area in addition to continuing the community clay classes. I strongly believe that by connecting to ourselves and others, we can improve our communities. Art and clay can be a way to create that connection.
What do you think about happiness?
My happiest moments professionally are when I am creating something in my studio or teaching a class where people feel comfortable enough to express themselves and connect to one another. It is such an amazing feeling to do what I feel I was put on this earth to do. My happiest moments in my personal life are when I am outside with my family and dogs, doing yoga, swimming, and spending time with friends.
- Website: sarahjohnstonceramics.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/sarahjohnstonceramics
- Facebook: facebook.com/sarahjohnstonceramics
- Other: etsy.com/shop/SarahJohnstonCeramic