"The intention of my art is not to tell a story, but to create objects that influence and enhance the space around them, evoking an emotional response."

When Ceramic Artist Sheryl Zacharia was nine years old she began writing songs, and picked out her first guitar in the King Corn Stamp Catalog...

In her late teens, she discovered her voice and her passion for song writing and dropped out of college, moved to NY City and for the next fifteen years performed in clubs in and around the Village - including the famed Brecker Brothers 7th Avenue South.

In her mid-thirties she realized that she had a yearning to do art, her intended major when she entered college. So she followed that path, working in clay, taking classes at the famed Artworks and Greenwich House Pottery, where she was eventually hired to teach. After a decade and a half of teaching,  she decided to move to Santa Fe and pursue her artistic passion full-time. 

 Images of current work at TANSEY CONTEMPORARY - SANTA FE

I first saw Sheryl's work at the JANE SAUER GALLERY - now TANSEY CONTEMPORARY - and was taken by the sculptural texture, color and design of her handsome, hand-built vessels. I recently made a home/studio visit and was privy to a dynamic retrospective of her work. 



Every surface reveals one of Sheryl's paintings or ceramic wonders. Her home is filled with color, texture and charming surprises... Needless to say, it was a
delight to walk through and photograph everything.

Q.You create hand-built ceramic vessels. Are you a potter, ceramicist, abstract sculptor...?

A. All of the above!!! But I really just think of myself as an artist who is currently mostly working in Clay. I prefer making abstract sculpture to functional ware, but I do enjoy making it for special shows like the one in December at the THE ART SCHOOL AT OLD CHURCH - Demarest, NJ. This show is in its' 43rd year with some of the best studio potters in the  country, which can be a humbling experience. 

Some of the following are Sheryl's earlier work from 20-years ago...

Q. Your work has been called "Visual Poetry" - does this wonderful description resonate with what your creations?

A. I love this description, as I come from a songwriting background and do think my work is very lyrical - words, feelings and rhythm translated into the visual.

Q. You lived in NY for many years, what do you miss most and what did you 'find' moving to Santa Fe? 

A. What I miss in NY is the action and interactions, the museums, but mostly my friends and family. But, I'm finding another family here in Santa Fe, one that is interesting, generous and good hearted. The richness of living closer to nature here is what I find most inspiring along with the different cultural influences that are new to me. My last Solo Show at TANSEY CONTEMPORARY was entitled "The Sky is the Water." Everyone thought I would miss the water, but the sky here makes me say WOW everyday. And I love having a flower garden!

Her first painting in high school...

 Q. Do you always begin a project with a drawing?

A.  I draw and sketch constantly, very simple line drawings of forms, and I do work from those drawings. They are everywhere - sketch books, in my phone and IPAD. I collect my favorites and that keeps my work moving and focused. Then I build and add some simple color blocking with a clay slip called terra sigalatta. That gives me the foundation. After the first firing, I apply my stains and glazes and fire again. I love the glazing process as I love to paint. The surfaces are all about enhancing the forms, which of course, must stand on their own.

 T H E   S T U D I O

Sheryl's studio is attached to the house, so the flow from living space to work space is an easy one - unlike a schlepp on a NY subway. With two window walls - one looking out onto a charming patio - the large space is filled with light that brings the outside in. 

Q. You told me that your first love is music; how does that medium realize or translate into your work? Do you feel the same sense of joy in creating your vessels as you do in singing?  

A. Yes, music is my great love and I"m always listening, singing and even dancing when I work. Sometimes you just have to get up and dance! Pattern and form are rhythm, palette is harmony, lines and shapes are lyrical. The joy I feel making visual art is satisfying in a different way; both are the same in that the process is the motivation, the love of creating, but with a song, the creation stays with you longer.

The future sculpture garden...

Q. What challenges and drives you creatively in your work? 

A.  It's hard to say what drives me. I came out of the womb as a creative individual. I started writing songs when I was 9. I guess it's just a fervent need to express myself and create whether it be music, painting or ceramics.  I even dreamed of being a dancer when I was young. I also think having had a sad childhood and losing my father at a young age, it was a very therapeutic way to let things out. Not to sound corny, but making art really feeds my soul.

Some of the 75 functional pieces going to the December show are

A separate room houses her kiln,,,

Q. How many hours do you spend in your studio? 

A. I'm a bit of a workaholic, but it doesn't seem like work as I enjoy it so much.  I work almost everyday; sometimes long hours and sometimes just a few hours. It's the main reason why I moved here, wanting a studio in my home, at my fingertips, so I could work whenever I wanted. When I'm not working, I take walks with my adorable dog PABLO (below), attend music and art events, tool around in the garden and discover new places to visit.



652 Canyon Rd. - Santa Fe




  1. Sheryl is such a unique and talented person. I love that her art and spirit permeates her space and her persona.

  2. Thanks Lisa so happy to have you in my life