Posted 6 months ago
So it has been ten years since I posted a piece by Bernard Sahm and it remains one of my prized pieces of Australian pottery. Yesterday I headed south on a train just seven stops away from home and visited an antique centre for the first time. I bought two things and this is one of them : a candle holder of large form. Stoneware decorated with grey, light brown and blue matt glazes, Australian, c. 1973, impressed 'BS' monogram, height 15 cm.(6 ins), diameter 19.5 cm. (7.6 ins).
Bernard Sahm, active 1949-c1990
Unlike most contemporary ceramic artists, Sahm's early ceramic training was in commercial studio Martin Boyd Pottery, Terra Ceramics in Sydney and, in 1956, at Gutenhalde Ceramics in Stuttgart. The Sahms then travelled to Britain, where Bernard secured work at Harry and May Davis's Crowan Potteryn near St Ives, in Cornwall, England. He was throwing an amazing 100 lidded pots a day.
''His work is strong and elegant. He is a traditionalist but he is never dull or conventional.'' wrote the critic James Gleeson.
Bernard Sahm was a greatly respected potter whose work is represented in all the major galleries of Australia. Sahm’s original approach to his art took up the counter-cultural spirit of the times using parody and wit to portray what Sahm saw as the absurdities in society. Themes from an exhibiton in Faenza Italy in 1976 were: Pillars of Society, Art Machines, Mind Modifying Machines, Concept Dispensers, Helpful Hints, and Funerary Urns. Over time the nature of his output increasingly blurred the distinction between ceramics and sculpture while at the same time critiquing society and specifically the art world. The ceramic work of Bernard Sahm (1926-2011) is represented in all the major galleries of Australia.
Teaching and Academic Positions
1964-1976 Taught Ceramics at National Art School, Sydney.
1977-1984 Senior Lecturer and Head of Ceramics Department, Sydney College of the Arts.
The success of many ceramic artists who have graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts stands as a testament to his vision.