Sandra Jane Heard

Sandra Jane Heard



Sandra Jane Heard collects discarded objects, using them to create meticulous and meaningful sculptures. A United Kingdom native, who has spent the last seven years in Toledo, Heard uses reoccurring themes to reflect an array of existential ideas, ideals and problems. caught up with Heard to talk about her current projects, what gives her inspiration and Fort Meigs. 


What current projects are you working on?

My current work is dealing with the destructive forces that divide and harm mankind and the natural world. The work explores the concept of nature’s beauty being inflicted with the blight of human intrusion and the consequential destructive and devastating effects this has on the fragile equilibrium of the natural world. The work aims to be provocative with its depiction of imminent species extinction that has been set into play by our human exploitative dominance of the world.


What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

Having experienced the dynamics of living on both the West and East coast, being in Northwest Ohio offers a more realistic vantage point to view the rest of the country and world. There is a raw honesty, simplicity, and rich history to this area, combined with a great amalgam of visual imagery to pull upon, from the post-industrial ravished architecture, to the fertile farmlands, and the natural beauty of the Maumee River. The greater Toledo area offers a more down to earth experience, enabling a clearer honing of the issues that are of concern and which can then be focused more distinctly into the work.


Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

Last year my work, “Into the Abyss”, received the Museum purchase award in the 43rd Mid-states Craft Exhibition and entered the permanent collection of the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science.


Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

I am enamored by all parts of the natural world from the inanimate to the animate and from the monumental to microscopic.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in the town of Haverhill, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom. I began my arts education at Braintree College, where I studied for an Art Foundation.
This led to my enrollment at the University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where I studied for a B.S.C in Textile design.
From here, I relocated to the United States and studied at the California College of Art, graduating in 1994 with a B.F.A in Textiles. I have been living in the greater Toledo area for the past 7 years. This area is where I re-kindled my artistic exploration.


Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Be kind. 


Favorite place for local culture?

The Toledo Museum of Art, for its great collection and I especially enjoy listening to the Toledo Symphony and watching the Toledo Opera perform in the Peristyle Theatre — an exquisite Toledo venue space.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .
The abundance of creativity here.


My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

My home and studio. My backyard or kitchen with friends and family.


My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

One of my favorite natural spaces is just below Fort Meigs next to the Maumee River. Throughout the seasons, this area offers beautiful vistas with one favorite being dewy, misty mornings when the sun is low in the sky highlighting the abundance of delicate and intricate spider webs hanging from the foliage. 


When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

The Maumee Antique mall, habitually roaming the aisles in search of distinct objects and materials to be incorporated into my work.


If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I would encourage more locals to invest in the local artists living right on their doorstep. We all tend to travel to other locales to make our more adventurous and special purchases. So much local talent needs support here in Toledo.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

I am the first to admit that I do not work well with others, as I am a solitary creature by nature when it comes to my work. However, I would love to have inhabited the head of Gabriel Garcia Marquez as he wrote One Hundred Year’s of Solitude, this book had a profound effect on how I approached my work. I would also love to view the world through the eyes of Martin Puryear, for he has such a pure and powerful expression of form. 


Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

I think I can live without most of these things because I can retain the most important memories and images in my own head but a photo album of my boys through the years would be my most valued book and my sketchbook where I record future works and ideas.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Love of Nature.


Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Best of Bowie
Kate Bush, The Whole Story
The Eurhythmics, Greatest Hits
U2, The Best of 1980-1990
Abba, Arrival, because it reminds me of my parents.

My biggest vice is . . .
Too much Pinot Noir and not working well with others!

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

Less strip malls and more of an emphasis on the restoration of what is left of our cities former architectural gems. To have this great historic architecture house locally owned businesses, which capitalize on, and expose the local talent and skills in the arts. As of now all the great cultural hubs are so splintered from each other. A safe, centralized arts district championing small, locally-owned restaurants, bars, and boutiques, and may be even a Toledo Museum of Art satellite gallery at its center, which exhibits regional emerging and established artists.


What’s the last dream you recall having?

I have a recurring dream or maybe it’s better described as a nightmare in which I have neglected to care for something, sometimes it is animals in a room that I fail to remember I have in my house. I literally wake up and jump out of bed with my heart thumping in a panic to race to their aid, before I realize I am dreaming.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

I don’t remember the exact song but it was when my oldest son Harrison was singing during his senior choir performance with the Interlochen Chamber Singers. I get a little choked up every time I hear his voice singing a beautiful classical ballad.


The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

My husband Alex flew my sister Frances in from the United Kingdom to Phoenix Arizona, as a surprise for my 40th birthday. Brilliant!

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream Speech,” 1963. The civil rights activists, known as the Freedom Riders, for their bravery and unfaltering determination to end segregation in the deep south.


I want my last meal to be _________. 

Homemade pesto pizza, Bing cherries and a glass or three of Pinot Noir enjoyed along with my family.


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