in partnership
(Image courtesy of Sam Scott).

Artist of the Week: Sam Scott

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Sam Scott: I began working with clay in 1968. I received my BFA from the UW and set up my studio in 1975. I have been in Seattle my whole life. As an artist I have worked in many media, although porcelain has been my main medium. For decades I have made my wife valentines for Valentine’s Day. These objects have been paper, wood, glass, wire, metal and clay, whatever material best fits my concept that year.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Working with clay is process oriented. I work primarily on the potter’s wheel with the soft clay. When the clay firms up the excess clay is trimmed away. These stages address functional or sculptural issues in the form of the piece. The work then completely dries and you are no longer changing the form. It’s then fired, but still porous. It is the next phase that imbues my work with its stylistic uniqueness. I either put on a clear glossy glaze with various colored patterns brushed over the glaze or I use a black matte glaze to create biomorphic shapes and patterns. The work is fired again at a higher temperature maturing the clay and glaze. This is a synergy of science (glazes and clay), technique (forming and firing) and concept (function, surface and idea). I use this medium to express my perspective whether physical or conceptual.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
A great deal of my work over the years is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. I rarely wake up with a great idea that is drastically different. For me it is through the step by step process of skill development and problem solving that the work ultimately evolves to something different then it was before. Although there are times when ideas or feeling need to be expressed, and I’ve found that my impression plate are the vehicle for that part of my artistic expression.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
When my children were young I began working late. I have continued this long after they grew up. So I work mostly from 10pm to 5am. I find not having interruptions and a TV as my background, to be productive.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
As a studio potter I make a lot of work that is hopefully of high quality. But on occasion a piece comes out where all the steps have coalesced into what I feel is sublime completion of process. There are other works that demonstrate transitional stylistic approaches. It is work from both phases that I remember or have saved for a future date.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Certainly everything that happens to you has an impact: education, culture, mentors and art. But the experience that has influenced my work the most has been having the support (physical, financial and emotional) of my wife Dianne. My best advice is marry well!

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
My web site lists galleries that carry my work and I can be contacted at

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I was recently asked that question and my response was if I knew what I was going to do next I would be doing it. I have found that in the past as transitional work occurs I did not see it coming. As I moved in one direction something (process, problem or life) occurs to nudge you in a direction you were not pursuing. This can sometimes be slow but has always made sense to me. So I keep working.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee?
I prefer regular coffee with a lot of milk.