What excites me is transforming environments and spaces into extraordinary experiences, creating a magnet that invites participation and engagement.
Studio Vlock began when I acquired two 58" diameter antique mooring buoys with the intent to repurpose them as steel sphere fire pits. These weatherworn orbs with their hulking shackles were initially intimidating to me! I saw them as iconic ancient mariners with powerful stories to tell and was reluctant to impose my own story on them. But I eventually did, creating dramatic and engaging fire sculptures.
I have worked as an architect with my own practice for 30 years. Our firm, Arbonies King Vlock, designed a range of projects including museums and galleries, academic and municipal buildings, and private residences. What has always fascinated me is how the built environment fosters a sense of community. Now working as an artist, I continue this passion for engaging people in a shared experience by capturing an authentic sense of place, context, and narrative with my art. I view the integration of Fine Art & Architectural Elements offered through my newest venture, Studio Vlock, as a natural evolution of that vision, one that enables me to design pieces that inspire memorable experiences and create unique environments for social gatherings, quiet reflection, and visual delight.
“As an art historian and curator, I’ve admired Sandra’s work as an architect and artist. I have been especially interested in her sense of the importance of art in the life of an individual or community; finding in places and nature, the authentic human connection.”
– Helen A. Cooper, Curator Emeritus of American Paintings and Sculpture, Yale University Art Gallery
The Art of Storytelling
When traveling, the first thing that gets packed is a small sketchbook and simple tools: soft charcoal pencils, felt-tip pens, and a handful of pastels, usually tossed into my dry bag or backpack. It's a happy ritual.
My sketchbook is a visual journal—quick impressions of places traveled, capturing the moment in my mind. Taken together, these marks on paper are the through-thread of experience and discovery. Sketching is my way to take it all in; buildings and landscapes, fragments and whole scenes.
The Immediacy of a Sketch
The impulse to sketch - being in the moment - takes over. My family, and constant canine companions, are used to this spontaneous act. It's how I connect to where I am. Sitting on the side of the road or perched on a ledge is not an unusual occurrence.
Repurposing and Reimagining
I love the idea of repurposing and reimagining objects that have had another life or serve a purely functional purpose. A ship’s mooring buoy becomes a Fireball. A patio heater is transformed into a Fire Totem. Like architecture, sculpture is dimensional. Steel as a medium has its own inherently marvelous qualities. Stainless steel is luxurious in how it reflects the ambient light around it. Weather-worn steel is organic and reacts over time to its environment. I am fascinated by light and shadow. These are essential form-givers and play a significant role in how each piece is experienced.
Stories Inspire Social Gathering
When people come together, it is an act of social engagement. My designs are evocative, with a multitude of details to lure the eye and capture the imagination. The fire within animates this imagery. I look for opportunities to inspire social gatherings through these functional fine art pieces. The element of fire within animates the imagery and is a natural draw to bring people together.