Labor Of Love

Potter Maria Sparsis is a “scientist in artist’s clothing” who approaches her craft with passion and precision.
Maria Sparsis holds her “Great Ape” stoneware guardian.

Maria Sparsis has always wanted to be an artist. As a child she tried painting, drawing, stamping and photography; but she was confronted with her worst nightmare: she was talentless. Eight years ago, she decided to give three-dimensional art a try, so she took a pottery class at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. “I absolutely fell in love with it,” she says, “and I can do it. After 40 years of trying, I finally found something I can do.”

Now a part-owner of The Flametree Clay Gallery, Maria is a prolific potter who has found a way to interweave her many interests with her art. A marine biologist by training and the co-owner of Tea and Chi by trade, Maria often creates nature-oriented sculptures or teapots. To her, pottery is a labor of love, with an emphasis on labor. 

“I think of myself as a scientist in artist’s clothing,” she says. While her artist friends seem to have been blessed with a gift, Maria discovered a propensity for pottery after sustained trial-and-error and since then she has approached the art form as a science. “It’s a study. It’s research. And I have to learn every bit of it. My first pottery teacher Sean Clinton, who’s at the museum, I would watch him. He would make a pot and then he’d just look back and push his thumb in a particular place or add a little dot and it was exactly where it needed to be. That you have to be born with. I had to go back and look at art books and figure out what the golden ratio is and study Fibonacci sequences. It doesn’t just happen for me.”

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