Crannmor Pottery Blog

August 14, 2018

Celebrating 50 Ceramic Ireland Festival Week 32

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 10:46 AM

For the past few years I have been involved with Ceramics Ireland as a committee member and every two years they have an International Ceramics Festival The first one I was at was in 2008 and the visiting demonstrators were Ian Gregory, Jack Doherty and Phil Rogers.

It is held in Thomastown Co. Kilkenny at the pottery skills Mill which has all the facilities but because of it’s small size it makes the festival more intimate. It gives us the chance to get up close and personal with the demonstrators and ask all sorts of potty questions. It is also a chance to catch up with old faces and meet the new potters coming into the clay world.

thomastown

The Mill Thomastown

What I like is that you might have admired the work of certain potters and ceramic artists from afar and now you get the chance to see how their personalities come into their work. The demonstrators also put up an exhibition of their work and allows us to purchase . I bought a Jack Doherty pot at the last festival and will probably treat myself to something at this one.

jack doherty

Jack Doherty

I haven’t been to the festival since then as it always clashed with another event but this year I am free to go. I am especially looking forward to Susan O Byrne and Mark Campden . The Festival runs from 7th Septmeber to the 9th and their are still tickets available for the weekend or for single days. You don’t have to be a potter to attend it is open to everyone who just has an interest in clay. So I might see you there.

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August 7, 2018

Celebrating 50 Pottery Classes Week 31

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 9:00 AM

With my workshop now located at my house and with Ireland suffering from our Celtic tiger crash my income also took a bit of a dive. I had to come up with a way of generating more income so I advertised pottery classes.

Pottery Class

Pottery Class

I would take small groups of no more than 6 people and sit them around the kitchen table and show them the basic hand building techniques and let them then create their own masterpieces. It was always interesting to see how folk would approach clay and how they would often influence each other.

Pottery Class

Pottery Class

I also approached primary  schools as they had clay on their curriculum but a lot of the teachers skills with clay were limited and I was able to fire the pots that the kids made. I would work with baby infants right up to 6th class and the dynamic was very different as you went up the ages. I also had a greater respect for teachers, I would only spend an hour with the class, and I found it draining after an hour. However every child would always have something to show at the end of the class and the sense of achievement is very fulfilling.

I still teach pottery at my kitchen table and I also do one to one throwing lessens on the wheel. What I love about giving people the opportunity to work with clay is that I know they have gone home with a smile on their face and a huge sense of satisfaction and they have something physical to show for it. It is wonderful to loose yourself to clay for a couple of hours and it is a medium that can work for everyone.

Pottery Class

Pottery Class

July 31, 2018

Celebrating 50 2009 Week 30

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 9:32 AM

2009 was a very eventful year for me. I started the year with a 2 week trip in South Africa, hiked Table Mountain saw 4 of the 5 amazing animals of Kruger Park and drove some of the Garden route. It was an interesting trip and quite humbling to see the shanty towns but also the security of normal dwellings people living behind bars. I picked up two little coffee cups as mementos of the trip but really the highlight was photos from Kruger Park.

Coffee Cups

Coffee Cups

On my return from that trip I moved my workshop yet again. This time to my house where my dad helped me to convert one of the stables into my new workshop. I left the Estate Yard as income had dropped due to our Celtic Tiger crash and it was a struggle to pay rent. I was loosing the footfall of customers but I now had no rent to pay and I was still part of Made in Kilkenny and so still had a customer base.

snow 025

 

Moving my workshop to the house also gave me more freedom. I didn’t have to open to the usual shop hours which gave me a lot more free time for my other project of that year. Myself and 6 other friends had signed up for Ironman Frankfurt in July. It was a big deal for me as this was my first ever Ironman and is still the only one I have done. What also made it special for me is that my folks and brother with his twin girls came out to support me. I think it wasn’t until they saw that event that they realized I wasn’t the only nutjob out there and began to understand why I do these things.

It may seem at this stage of my journey that I have had a lot of changes along the way but I have been very lucky with my family supporting me at all my turning points and thankfully they continue to do so.

July 23, 2018

Celebrating 50 Potters of Ireland Week 29

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 11:09 AM

This morning finds me a little tired but very happy. My weekend at the Galway Potters Market was a great success. When you put your wares on display with 24 other very talented potters you have a few moments of doubt, will folk like MY work??, and thankfully plenty of people did.

Hilary Galway

Hilary and very good customers

It also gives us a chance to come out of hibernation of our safe studio/workshop environment and chat nerdy pot talk to fellow makers. I had Rory Shearer to my left and Antonio Julio López Castro to my right. We were three throwers side by side but our work is very different. People think how can you sell pots with all that competition. It is not competition it is choice. We buy what we like even when we buy gifts for other people we are influenced by our own tastes .

The weekend threw a few old faces my way and it was great to catch up. One lady had bought one of my funnels from the Soundshapes exhibition and she sent me a photo of it hanging in her house. The market was a great success and mainly through the hard work  of Juliet Ball and Tamaru Hunt Joshi 

Funnel

Soundshapes Funnel

Another chance for anyone to see more amazing ceramics is at the Printworks in Dublin Castle. I will be manning the exhibition this Wednesday morning from 9.30am – 1.30pm. There are 105 members from Ceramics Ireland  showing their work and the exhibition runs until 29th July. Well worth a visit.

printworks

Printworks Dublin Castle

July 16, 2018

Celebrating 50 Galway Potters Market Week 28

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 9:41 AM

Four years ago I took a stand at the Galway Potters Market in Spanish Arch. I am returning this year to present my work again. The Potters Market runs along with the Galway Arts Festival and also this year Galway is hosting the European Region of Gastronomy  So looking forward to some nice eats while I’m away this weekend.

galway-potters-market

Galway Potters market

This year the market will run for three days starting this Friday 20th July until Sunday 22nd. There will be 25 potters from all over Ireland displaying, and more importantly, selling their wares. What I particularly like about this market is you get to meet the potters and have a good chat with them and they love to answer questions and tell you how they achieve their different effects.

It also gives me a chance to catch up with some old friends Jim Behan who is also a Carlow native will be there and last time I was beside Roisin Gregory. There will be quite a few new faces whose work I am looking forward to see. That will be my only problem trying not to bring back too many pots from others. I think it is an affliction of most potters.

Oceanic Range

Oceanic range

I am bringing mainly bowls and my new Oceanic range. It will be good to get feed back from visitors to the market. I have decorated my bowls with a colour scheme that is befitting the coastal city of Galway. So if you are near or in Galway this weekend please do come and say hello.

July 9, 2018

Celebrating 50 Coolcullen Week27

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 11:14 AM

In 2007 I managed to buy a site from my grand uncle located on the borders of Kilkenny and Carlow . The best way to describe it was that I was on the top of a hill and in the middle of nowhere but for me it was perfect.

House

My Dream House

I am very fortunate with my friends and relations and my cousins husband had an architects firm in Carlow and he very kindly did the drawings for my house in exchange for a full dinner service. Yes I know I got the better end of the deal.

Moss range

Dinner service Moss range

I was also very fortunate that a friend of mine was doing a building project nearby and my house became part of that too. he was trying out new building material for Ireland. In the sunny climes of Europe they use terracotta blocks with a honeycomb interior and I liked the fact that my house would be built with red clay.

House 038

The building started in July and I moved in just before Christmas. It was just the bare shell and I had set myself the project of making a sink for the bathroom. It is probably the most amount of clay I have had on the wheel about 10kg. To get it centred I would two it in two lumps and then it was a lot of muscle power to shape it. The firing process was also very slow as the sink was very thick and you had to allow the chemical reactions to happen slowly.

Another friend made the stand for it to sit on. I made two sinks hoping to put the other one in the downstairs toilet but it ended up being too big as I had it on an old sewing machine for the base. So again the barter system came into use and I swapped it for a painting from Rachel Burke. 

 

rachel burke

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July 3, 2018

Celebrating 50 Kilkenny Week 26

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 9:46 AM

The Castlecomer Estate Yard began to grow and soon we had Rebekah Patterson Milliner  , Derek Blanche Jeweler and Selina Gittins Ecletic Interiors. We were a happy little family of craft workers.

castlecomer-discovery

Castlecomer Craft Yard

Kilkenny is a hub for craft and it was time for us to get together and market ourselves as the craft capital of Ireland. The Enterprise board was very encouraging and had funds to help small rural businesses. So came about MADE in Kilkenny It allowed us to put together a brochure , trail signs to find the various workshops and joint exhibitions and pop up shops. It is still a great success and members have come and gone over the years but it is a great way to work together more economically.

Quarry Bowls

Quarry Bowls

During the Kilkenny Arts festival we would secure a room in Butler House and have a MADE exhibition. These exhibitions had various themes over the years. The first one I took part in we had to base our piece on a favourite place in Kilkenny. I picked a quarry where I would swim. I usually had it to myself and I would swim laps with the swallows flying overhead. It was quite deep and dark and I would send ripples through it as I swam and reflected this in large pots shaped like rubber rings.

Detail

Detail of Quarry Bowl

The following year Kilkenny was celebrating 400 years of Civic History and we based our exhibition on this. I created a futuristic cathedral type piece that I thought might be built in the next 400 years.

Modern Cathedral

Modern Cathedral

The last year I took part I made Tridoms. We were to create something that portrayed a bit about ourselves. I had taken up triathlons and spent a good bit of time on the bike. So I had two forms of wheels that I used a lot in my life and the Tridoms could spin and created movement unlike most pots which stay still.

Tridoms

Tridoms

It was a great chance to make something out of our usual everyday work and to have it displayed in an exhibition space made it all the more special. Our show would recieve very positive feedback and sometimes we even sold the odd piece. It was good to work outside the usual boundaries.

June 25, 2018

Celebrating 50 Co. Kilkenny Week 25

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 1:00 PM

In January of 2005 I had returned from my travels in the southern hemisphere and I had secured a new workshop space. I knew that I wanted to base myself back nearer to my family in the sunny south east and through a friend of my cousin I found the perfect spot in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.

Crannmor Pottery

Crannmor Pottery

 

Erol Delaney owned the old estate yard of The Wandesforde Estate in Castlecomer and had renovated the building to accommodate artists and craft workers and I thought it was commutable from Carlow and liked the idea of being part of a group.

I was in good company with Rosemarie Durr Pottery and her husband Andrew Ludick. Carl Parker was a jeweler, Maeve Coulter was beside me doing felt making and print and we had Gabriella doing a little coffee shop.It was early days for the Castlecomer Estate Yard but we were an optimistic and progressive crew.

For me it was good to get back at the wheel and make pots after almost a year away. I continued with my old ranges Cornflower and Bottle Green but I had also come up with a new range called the Silk Range that was inspired by my travels and had a more contemporary feel. The Asian style of eating downunder was a big influence and I developed new products like noodle bowls, rice bowls and soya dishes. Our eating habits were changing and folk were using bowls more to eat from rather than a plate.  I use my noodle bowls almost every day for salads mainly at the moment in this weather.

 

June 18, 2018

Celebrating 50 Exhibition Week 24

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 2:04 PM

The 50 Bowls Exhibition was a great success last Thursday. A huge thank you to all that were able to make it and support me. Killruddery was the perfect venue in the Stable Studio.

exhibition

Opening of 50 Bowls

To see the bowls all set up was very rewarding after the last few months of making. There were a few moments when I had asked myself why did I put this upon myself but thankfully the end result was very satisfying. I had also made 30 vases to mark 30 years of making and they sold well too.

vases

Vases

It was interesting to get feed back from folk who visited the exhibition and what surprise d me was the popularity of one particular set of bowls. The cracked bowls seem to draw the biggest interest and these would be the newest design I have come up with and has given me inspiration to take it and explore it further.

cracked detail

Cracked Detail

The dent bowls all sold out and they have always been a favourite. Overall it was a very positive experience but I am happy that the challenge is done for now.

red bowl

Red Angular Bowl

I was very fortunate that John Shiels of Action Photography  took photos on the evening and all of the pics this week are his shots.

dent bowl

Detail of Dent Bowl

June 11, 2018

Celebrating 50 Exhibition Week 23

Filed under: Uncategorized — by crannmorpottery @ 8:54 AM

This is the week of my celebratory exhibition at Killruddery. This Thursday evening 14th June from 5.30pm- 8.30pm. I am displaying the 50 bowls that have been specifically made for this one evening show in the Stables Studio.

I have made the bowls in five series of ten styles and each bowl is individual and numbered. They have all been hand thrown on an electric wheel by myself. I have used a white porcelain stoneware clay which is glaze fired to 1260 degrees Celsius. Each bowl has been hand decorated with coloured stains and glazes. They have also been fired for a third time to 750 degrees Celsius for lustre decoration of platinum and copper.

The first group are the dent bowls which I have been making for the last 6 years. i like the subtle distortion of these bowls and it gives the feeling that the clay is still soft.

The second group are bowls with risen bumps that crack the surface of the clay internally in the bowls and I have emphasized the cracking with coloured stains.

The third group are spinning bowls because the bases of these bowls are rounded and will rotate on surfaces continuing the movement of the wheel when the pot is a finished piece.

The fourth group are shallow bowls with simple glaze decoration but give the bowls a richness with the stronger colours.

The fifth group are the angular bowls that almost look like pillar box hats. They are decorated with coloured stains and etched out lines.

I have also made 30 vases which are also individual and mark the years I have been working with clay.

It will be a first come first serve on the evening. Bowls are €50 and vases €30. So come and browse and enjoy a glass of wine while feasting your eyes with colour and imagination. Everyone is welcome.

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