“What drew me to working with clay?
It was love at the first touch, I discovered clay accidentally while learning sculpture, but instinctively I new that I found my material, offering endless possibilities and being a great wellbeing teacher.” Tatiana D.
“Creativity is more a lifestyle than an instrument for my work, and usually is flourishing when something goes wrong in the exterior world, it is a way of surviving emotionally.” Tatiana D.
“There is a great battle with industrialisation, but I consider myself an optimist believing that there always will be people who will appreciate authenticity, craftsmanship and uniqueness of a handmade object, and we’re ready to create for them, but as well for ourselves.” Tatiana D.
“I first used clay that gets fired to ceramic when I was in College in Skibbereen. It was love at first touch. The focus and calm I get when I make is a joy and the endless possibilities of ceramics mean there is always something new to learn.” Rose R.
“At the beginning of the pandemic I made a space for working in my shed. It was great to be able to go out there during last year’s sunny spring and summer. I experimented and made what I felt like without questions. It gave me the gifts of space to play, to rest, to be with myself.” Rose R.
“Crafts’ role is very relevant, people yearn towards things which are made by hand in reaction to the omnipresence of machine made objects. Ceramics in particular has a strong role as clay is inherently a therapeutic medium. Its tactility is useful in getting us into our senses and body and out of our heads, as well as the myriad things you can do with clay, it’s a win-win really!” Rose R.
“I took a pottery class at Cornell University when I was writing up my ecology and entomology PhD thesis. I was hooked on ceramics immediately and continued to take classes, learn and make ceramics for many years before working with clay full time.” Tamaru Hunt-Joshi
“At the start of the pandemic, I couldn’t work. The adjustment to a global pandemic for me and my family, as with most people, was difficult. I supported my children with their home schooling, and grew my garden. Later on, I was able to work on ceramics without the pressure of deadlines which great. I started making more work connected to biodiversity and endangered species since this is intimately connected to a new virus raging out of control- maintaining and nurturing the species within our ecosystems makes our ecosystems more stable and resistant to going out of control.” Tamaru Hunt-Joshi
“Craft and ceramics give us a sense of connection to our place on the earth. Whether we purchase crafts, or take the time to learn how to make things from clay or wood or wool, we are acknowledging that connection. This pandemic has allowed people to try new crafts and realise how important they are to their wellbeing as well as realising how much skill and work is needed to make the craft and ceramics produced by local artisans.” Tamaru Hunt-Joshi
“I fell in love with ancient Korean pottery in a museum in Jakarta, Indonesia on my early twenties travels and set out to become a potter whatever it took.” Rob D’E.
“I have been working away behind closed doors throughout the pandemic.” Rob D’Eath
“There will always be a market for handmade ceramics. The problem is that it gets harder all the time to make a living wage as a fulltime craft worker. Maybe someday craftspeople and artists will be valued enough to receive a top-up payment from the government. You never know!” Rob D’Eath
“I always loved working in 3D, this love was reignited during the elective period of my first year at Limerick School of art and design when I did two weeks in ceramics. I remembered how much fun I had making 3D objects and the fact that they could be used daily afterwards made ceramics even more desirable for me.” Orla C.
“My journey has been a strange one because when it first hit, I was in a residency in Denmark. We felt like we were in a little bubble because we were in a pretty remote area, and stories of covid in our home countries felt a world away. After Denmark I moved home where I had a temporary studio in Cork City. And in the most recent lockdown I moved studio again and landed in my current space at Art in Mind Studios in Galway City!” Orla C.
“I think the past year has made people slow down and take stock on what is important to them. People want to invest in more special pieces and want to surround themselves in beautiful objects that have a story behind them.” Orla C.
“When I was a youth I was struggling with trauma and I had some amazing high school ceramics teachers and clay facilities. I fell in love with clay and the meditative qualities of throwing. For me clay became symbolic for peace and human connectivity.” Carly McC.
“I have been super fortunate to have a private studio with its own door, so I have been working at my studio throughout the pandemic. It has been a very special time for me.” Carly McC.
“Craft and ceramics is fluid-it reaches all the places–academia, domestic spaces, galleries, commercial spaces, industry, public/private, indoor/outdoor. What’s wonderful about our medium is it has such a transformative quality. With Craft’s history of existing within the fringes of the “Art” world, we have the opportunity to push boundaries in ways other mediums might not. Ceramics have the ability to tell multiple stories.” Carly McC.
“The tactile qualities of clay first attracted me to the medium. To shape a lump of clay is like thinking with the fingers, as the clay instantly responds to touch, it feels like entering an interactive dialogue. Also, there is a sense of wonder and suspense inherent to ceramics, as it is never granted that glazes will come out of the kiln according to plan! The ceramic process allows for continual experimentation and I find it extremely inspirational by nature.” Carina B.
“Not having access to a studio during the lockdowns meant diversifying my creative practice, which in itself isn’t such a challenge considering I tend to continually investigate clay and mixed media. Essentially it took the shape of mini tableaux which incorporated raw clay with diverse materials, like 3d collages, some of which actually reflecting the strangeness of the moment! It was also a possibility to slow down and reflect on some potential renewed direction, to look back on past works and recurrent themes.” Carina B.
“After the past 15 months of being “connected” through digital technology media, I feel that people are looking forward to being back into the local community realm and real life exhibitions / workshops over zoom meetings! Hand made crafts and ceramics hold a unique appeal as their uniqueness echoes that of our humanity, while also celebrating local culture and diversity!” Carina B.
“Clay holds memory. I love the ceramic vessels found in archaeological sites. I love the idea that the ceramic vessel outlives us and holds our memory.” Holly G.
“During Covid, not having the feedback of other artists was so isolating. The joy of communal work was absent.” Holly G.
“The art and craft of Ceramics has a central place from the dining room table to the immortalisation of memory. ” Holly G.
“I always knew I wanted to be a creative. When doing my first year in LSAD (a general year where you get to try multiple disciplines before honing in on one) I picked Ceramics as one of the disciplines to try out, just by chance. The medium of clay suited me very well, I picked things up very quickly. I was not in a great place mentally then. When I created things with clay, I felt it was the only thing that was going right in my life. I adored the supportive and nurturing atmosphere that Elaine Riordan and Kieran Whitelaw created in that space. Working with clay brought such calmness to my life, I could not let it go. Looking back now, I think the time I spent in that classroom equated to art therapy for me.” Aoife Natsumi F.
“There has been ups and downs. A lot of dark and pensive moments, as well as delightfully insightful moments. I focused more on drawing and writing poetry as these were the medium that was most accessible to me. For me, those 2 things are a more direct way to process moments. Through these, I have been doing a lot of mental preparation for the next series of work in Ceramics. Though, for quite some time I was not aware this was what I was doing.” Aoife Natsumi F.
“I feel there are more appreciation in crafts and Ceramics in the recent times. I feel through the pandemic, a lot of crafts has been more appreciated. More focus is put on hand made local things. Though, I am unsure if this is due to me surrounding myself with more artistically aware people or if its due to the shift in the view that the mass has. I am aware that a lot of people still find it difficult to see the value in handmade ceramic goods, comparing it to mass produced products.” Aoife Natsumi F.
“Its really simple, I like how it makes me feel, connected to my body. Watching clay respond to touch is just a really satisfying feeling.” Sorsha G.
“Time and space are luxuries to any artist. I’ve probably made more art during the pandemic than I have in my life. Lockdown brought a stability to my practice that I haven’t been able to achieve in over a decade.” Sorsha G.
“The transference of craft based skills from person to person, hand to hand is one of the most beautiful things to me. That will always have a place in society, every day someone is making their first pot and every day someone is showing them how.” Sorsha G.
“I was first introduced to clay in my first year of art college studying fine art in GMIT. I had thought I was going to be a painter when I left school but the moment I started to work with medium of clay I fell completely in love, its vast potential to mould and create anything you can imagine, and I have been working with it since.” Emma O’T.
“At the beginning of the pandemic everything was very scary and uncertain, with no access to the studio I began slowly working from home but found myself being really creatively blocked,
Now I’m so excited to get back working with other artists and community groups and projects, and so delighted to be a part of the clay Galway online exhibition.” Emma O’T.
“Lockdown brought out a lot of creativity in people throughout, and in turn people being more creative themselves made them more aware of other creative around them. There has been huge support for local artists helped by the design and craft Council of Ireland through campaign to #madelocal which put a spotlight on all the craft and talent in our beautiful island. But even so, it has been a tough year for the craft community with projects, markets and exhibitions closed down. The support and encouragement from other artists within the wider art community has been invaluable, and hopefully this support will continue.” Emma O’T.
“I’ve always worked with my hands and had enthusiasm for great design. Think once I got my hands on clay, I connected instantly with the material and it just made sense to explore it. I really enjoyed the challenge and massive learning curve at the beginning, I remember all I wanted to do when I started was to learn how to throw on a wheel and be able to make functional objects. Also, developing and learning how to work with ceramics offers such a whirlpool of possibilities, you can never get bored.” Elva C.
“Oh , there have been waves, lulls, droughts and bursts. it’s been as unpredictable as the current times. I haven’t been able to access my shared ceramic studio during lockdowns so it’s been challenging to keep a momentum with my creativity. Thankfully creativity expands over so many aspects of my life, personally, professionally as well as other artistic pursuits and I have had some surprising moments of pure blissful creativity emerge from the solitude of the past year or so.” Elva C.
“I see an increasing interest and appreciation for ceramics and craft in the last few years. There has been such an over saturation of disposable and mass produced products in our lives that I think people are starting to turn away from that and look for unique, characterful, handmade and local products, in search of experience. With a growing global awareness of environmental pollution problems along with inhumane industries, I believe people are starting to become more conscious of where they invest their money and time. I feel optimistic about the desire for craft and ceramics in modern times.” Elva C.
“I have always been drawn to the tactility of clay, taking a natural element and communicating a visual message through the medium. To create using your hands is a very personal and powerful experience there is a journey to bring this natural liquid or solid form to a place where it has become an expression that creates an impact on both the maker and the viewer.” Rebecca P.
“The pandemic has stunted many avenues of opportunity and streams of contact for artists to convey their messages to people in a physical way, that said it has also allowed for a block of time that we have never really witnessed before, where we have time to reflect and consider themes and projects for their true worth, when we are removed from many of our usual distractions and time constraints, and also to discover new ways of communicating our pieces when we cannot make use of venues and galleries for example and move to an online or virtual audience. Personally this has made me ponder on how strong my pieces are in a 2D environment and if they have the same impact when certain constraints are in place.” Rebecca P.
“Art and craft have always been a fundamental part of society, and have helped people through many challenging times throughout the ages, I see no difference in its importance through this pandemic , it is a glimmer of hope and a grasp at normality during this very disturbing and unsure time, it unites us in the fact that the whole world is going through this event and that the whole world holds a place for craft and creativity it is a universal constant and I think we strive for the familiar and soothing in times of adversity.” Rebecca P.
“My creative journey during lockdown has given me time to reflect and organize my workshop, and I’m developing it into a working studio and shop. At the beginning I had to pause my workshops in the schools and my sales slowed down. But the run up to Christmas I was inundated with orders, mainly for my ceramic maps, these were from all over the world. After Christmas the schools were closed and my sales were down so I had to return to office work. I am also in the process of building my website, which I hope to have up and running in the near future.” Maeve G.
“I think during Covid 19, people see the value in shopping local and the small business. Also the value of unique pieces, one person said to me that ‘they would rather buy from me or other artists and not from the high street shops as they don’t need half the stuff they buy from these shops and would rather have something unique and aesthetically pleasing’ With this in mind, I think people are appreciating art/craft/ceramics more.” Maeve G.
“As an emerging artist in my early twenties I experimented with different materials and clay became one of my favourites. Somehow, find the clay material which responds extremely well to my temperament.” Jed G.
“The Pandemic, which reduced our area of moves, showed how valuable it is to be surrounded by things we enjoy the most. Art is my life and my daily routine. I’m surrounded by books, colours, clay… My studio was part of my home and mostly my work is not under outworld pressure.” Jed G.
“We are all witnessing extending the boundaries of art to the craziest edges. But when we reduce art for all quirks what is left is craft; pure sume of knowledge, skills and artist’s passion to create a piece of art. Strongly believe that craft and ceramic included, with some changes in the field of course, will get even more in value in following decades.” Jed G.