The Sedona Potter - Mary Margaret
50 Years of Excellence in Clay
The beauty of clay, fire and water combine together with the excellence of pure form to make Mary Margaret's Sedona Pottery.
Mary Margaret's love for clay began early in her life and continues through an ever present desire to expand her creativity. Her pursuit of the art of pottery first took her to a small town in England where she, as an apprentice to Thomas Plowman, became a master potter in the English tradition. Her further studies took her to the great potteries of Spain, Israel, the Navajo and Hopi nations, and Mexico. In Mexico she worked with world famous potter Ken Edwards. In the 60's she found Sedona and has remained since to be constantly stimulated by this artistic community. More recently Mary Margaret's work has moved into the dimension of sculpture, while continuing to expand on her utilitarian pieces that people have known her for over the many years she has been in Sedona.
In more recent years she has gravitated to an exploration of Sacred Objects and Sacred Places; including urns, crosses, spirit houses and decor for meditation and prayer altars. It is in this spirit that the present evolving collection is offered. Mary Margaret is a person devoted to her work as a potter and sculptor. She continues to be challenged by her art and it shows in her exciting and alive pieces.
SEDONA MONTHLY (June 2015)
Mary Margaret Sather is a tiny woman – 90 pounds soaking wet – but her stature does little to convey her boundless energy and enthusiasm for art and Sedona. Mary Margaret grew up in the West – her father worked for the National Park Service – and she studied pottery in England, Mexico and in a kibbutz in Israel before her parents lured her back to the states with descriptions of the red rocks they had discovered in Sedona. Mary Margaret moved to Sedona in 1968, and she and her sister opened Sedona Pottery in Uptown. The shop moved to its current location in the Garland Building in 1976, making it the oldest retail shop in Sedona. This year marks Mary Margaret’s 50th anniversary as a potter.
Sedona Pottery is 900 square feet of Mary Margaret’s work, though if you just peek into the shop, you might think it represents dozens of artists. Mary Margaret has many distinctly different styles. Right now, she’s working on a series of sculptures depicting the female form. Those are mixed with stoneware decorated with petroglyphs, vessels that shine with Mary Margaret’s own glazes, tiny boxes, mugs, wall art and saki sets. The shop also sells jewelry, which Mary Margaret doesn’t make. Mary Margaret rises every morning at 4:30 a.m. and can be found in her studio or in the shop seven days a week. So what keeps her going?
“I like clay,” she says simply. “If it’s not exciting, I change it and make it exciting. Owning my own shop means I don’t have to take orders – I can experiment. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be making pots my entire life. I’m achieving my life. I don’t care about shows or awards – I just want people to buy my work so I can make more.”
Mary Margaret mixes her own clay, and she pit-fires her work in a garbage can. (She also works with a huge kiln.) She and her husband, architect John Sather, have homes in Mexico and Maine, but she says she loves Sedona, even if she’s seen major changes in the last 50 years.
“The town has to change or it will be a dead town,” she says. “I’d rather have it change – even if it isn’t my vision – than die.” – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Janise Witt.