By Alicia Stemper/Vitamin O
“I love the feel of bare clay,” says ceramic artist Sasha Bakaric. She therefore uses terra sigillate, an ancient technique, instead of glaze to finish her creations. Glaze, essentially melted glass, transforms clay into “a completely different media” and “what’s attractive about clay is gone.” Terra sigillate means pressed earth. Sasha etches intricate designs into this coating before firing. Someone once noticed the resemblance of her designs to an amoeba and Sasha realized her attraction to “the idea that scary or undesirable things can also be beautiful visually.” She then studied images of cells and viruses – images made “unbelievably beautiful” by today’s technologies. Her work is deeply connected to her life experiences; both parents died from cancer. “If I put it on my work, I put it in my control. What took them away I can grasp if I can work with it.” Sasha now pulls from the “library in my head” to decorate with “whatever complements the form.”
Sasha participates in the Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio tours. Her work is in galleries across the state, including FRANK in Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s NC Crafts Gallery. Sasha and her husband were born in Croatia. They moved to the United States in 1999. At that time, her father, a writer, warned her, “Make sure you don’t end up with one foot there, one foot here, and your heart nowhere.” Although it took some time, Sasha now feels at home. She loves much about our area including the Pumpkin Trail in Carolina North, the quirkiness of the food truck scene, the multitude of acapella groups, and the fact that we have “so many people so connected to their community.”
Sasha is one of the featured artists at FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill during the month of March.