Born Wild

The hare embodies the wild and the free. We imbue it with something about ourselves – something wild, free and untameable . That is us as Irish, but also wider. The hare is both compellingly attractive and illusive, only ever spotted at a distance.

This makes it all the more attractive to make as a sculpture. This little fellow is made in stoneware and fired twice reaching 1220C degrees.  He is fairly much life sized – at 40cm tall.

We have a distinct breed of hare in Ireland – browner than the European hare. Maybe that adds to our liking for hares. How it happened was that hares came here from Europe when the ice sheets covered the seas. Then when the ice melted (maybe I should say ‘the last time the ice melted’) the hares that were in Ireland were separated from the rest of the family. With the thousands of years they evolved to the brown Irish hare. In more recent times the European hare came to Ireland, and is present especially in the North.

I have sometimes seen hares in the Wicklow hills, or Kerry mountains. Surprisingly, Dublin Airport now provides a sanctuary for the hare under pressure from farm practices and urban sprawl.

Hare 1 (1)

 

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Commissions

I do of course welcome commissions!

How it works is you tell me what person, event or moment you are wanting to mark. Together we explore how that can best be done in ceramic. I will usually sketch a few ideas on paper or develop a prototype. Then the making starts and you end up with a unique and lasting gift.

 sgt-pepper-drum CoC

KODALINE

I was delighted to be commissioned to make a gift marking the wedding of Carina Elliott to Vinny May, the drummer of top band #Kodaline. It took a couple of prototypes to solve the technical challenges involved, but D&G were delighted to be offering such a unique piece.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s, so in conversation with the client we decided to build on that theme, though personalised for Carina and Vinny. A drum might be a very flat looking ornament, so I employed coils, layering, texture and colour to give it extra dimension and bring it to life.

Shown here is a prototype whereas the actual gift was further personalised for the happy couple.  Stoneware, part unglazed, texture of lace fabric to rear, and stain.   24×24 x 20cm.

 

KITTY’S DONKEY

Kitty loves her donkeys, so to celebrate a special occasion I was asked to mark it in ceramic.

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30 x 21cm in stoneware, crank clay, with a green-blue matt glaze.

 

 

 

 

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Figurative

Making a statue of your father is a challenging undertaking at any time, but when he is in hospital, well that complicates the task. It made for a very emotional process. So many times rubbing his cheek or forehead was a caress.

The final piece was well reviewed by the two most important critics and now sits in my parents home.

Life size, finished with a bronze lustre glaze, and standing on an oiled mahogany base.

See also Kitty’s Donkey in Commissions.

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Garden Sculptures

My ceramic art is directly influenced by my passion for garden design.  They are all made in stoneware and high fired to 1240C meaning they are robust for winter conditions. See here a range of pieces made for the garden.

What instrument could represent garden work more than a spade. It is also a challenging build, standing at 106cm tallSpade 2.  To fit in my kiln I had to fire it in two pieces which are joined half way along the shaft.

Carved into the texture of the surface is an ivy climbing up the spade.

Below is a second spade that remains outdoors dug into my vegetable beds.

Spade 2 - detail

Spade with floral texture embossed in the surface, then a blue barium dry glaze over gives a textured finish. Garden spade blue

This wall-mounted planter features a cluster of sempervivum plants that need little attention but attract much.

Planter on a wall

Planter tall in gardenHand built to 27 inches high and 18 wide, this is the largest size that can fit in my kiln.  Maxed-out.

Moons of Venus 1 This pot was inspired by ‘Io’ one of the moons of Jupiter. It was built with several coloured clays and later thrown on the wheel, low-fired, unglazed, earthenware of 36cm high.

I greatly enjoyed making a small series of trumpets. Measuring over 50cm in length, the tubes are hollow and so one very flat note can be blown. Seen here hanging from a tree, the trumpet will also stand free on the horn as in the second photo below.

Trumpet in a tree 2

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Pumkin in garden
Pumpkin, 40cm x 31cm, stoneware
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Thrown and Twisted

For a long time I sought to be able to throw pots on the wheel without suffering wobbles or bumps. No sooner was I able to do so than I started twisting. cutting and rejoining the pots to create new and irregular forms.  Here are a few.

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Use-Less

Inspired by the Portuguese word ‘inutil’ (without use, pronounced with a strong acent on the ‘u’ and an ‘l’ so soft it is almost a ‘u’), I like to make sculptures of items that normally are functional, but with the function removed, we get to emphasise the beauty of the form.

So see here musical instruments, toys, garden implements, each a form without use. Just for the heck of it.

Functional Sculptural

I enjoy making functional ceramics that have a sculptural form or texture.

In the photo above see a large bowl that sits above its foot. The cracked surface gives a textured feel adding to the touch.

Below see a range of pieces mostly ‘thrown and adjusted’. Some include Howth stones that have been crushed and added to the porcelain clay body to give colour and texture. Others such as the fruit basket are hand built from coils.

 

 

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