We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Sauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
When I began Guten Co. I made the decision to give myself a two year window to see if the business could be successful. I worked a night and weekend job to make a living but spent a full time schedule working to build the business and get the word out. I committed to not judging the momentary outcomes, or even beat myself up if the business failed entirely. Instead I allowed myself that window of time to make mistakes and get feedback. Giving myself those permissions was one of the most impactful choices I made to lead to long term success. As someone that struggles with perfectionism and being results oriented, those judgement free first years allowed me to keep progressing and not be paralyzed by fear of failure.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My ceramic work is my main outlet to create the vessels and objects that I always have floating around in my head! I work to really set my ceramics apart by testing the boundaries of what clay processes can achieve visually. Ceramics has one of the longest histories of all artistic mediums so we are all accustomed to seeing traditional forms, glazes and handle shapes. I like to strip that away and think about how else a cup can be built (what other shape could function as a handle?) so that it functions well but maintains your interests over the many years it is used. I also love testing out how clay can be used for non-tableware items such as wearables and other home decor pieces. Right now I am particularly excited because I am challenging myself to go much larger in scale with my pieces. This presents all kinds of challenges in the process (larger pieces need longer, slower drying times, and crack more easily at any stage) but the results are really stunning when a gorgeous large planter or vessel comes out of the kiln.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in San Antonio and love when friends come to visit so I can stop by all my favorite places! It’s something I’ve missed a ton during quarantine and will be rearing to make up for lost time. Here’s a perfect friend day in my book: Morning – Take a walk in my Alta Vista neighborhood with the dog and then go grab tacos and a coffee at Lola downtown. Midmorning – Visit the McNay Art Museum or SAMA to catch a new exhibit and enjoy the outdoor grounds. Lunch – Make a picnic and take it to Hemisfair park and have a stroll around the King William Historic District after. Afternoon – One more coffee at Larder at Hotel Emma and sit in the hotel lobby Library area and relax. Dinner – Happy hour and dinner at Cured: the best cocktails! Evening – After dinner walk down the Mission Reach of the Riverwalk (lush, green, not touristy!) Night Cap – Stop by Hotel Havana and go to the basement bar for a whiskey or Botanist Gin cocktail. This space is so special – filled with comfy velvet couches and dimly lit with only candle light and lovely incense. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t have made it through the last 7 years of business without my two sisters! They have both supported me steadily throughout every stage. They are the ones that come and help me fulfill orders during holiday rush when I’m shorthanded or act as a sounding board to work through a tangled situation. They have believed in my work since the early days and have given me much of the foundation and support necessary to take risks and maintain a business day in and day out.