The endeavor for artistic expression has always formed an integral part of my life. Foundations were laid down very early. Painting with my mother, the attempt to master various craft skills that occupied much time are recollected as experiences of total immersion. Opportunities for an academic direction denied against the cold stark economic realities of the 1980’s in Ireland.
Hours spent watching the Master Potter, magically creative, fed my curiosity against the backdrop of a dull career. The hand of the maker provided the key to unlocking a whole world of wonderful creative possibility. The fascination with the process of heat-work, the green flames produced during a reduction firing, conjuring the lore of the dragon, that vital energy of a beautiful pot reflected in the throwing rings of its maker, these became my tools. I was introduced to an ancient medium, one that while fragile does not rot or perish but instead can offer a means to navigate our past and provide a canvas for many contemporary artists who recognize its potential.
A little boat trip, a short walk and a small-enchanted Island frame the story of the outreach Visual Arts Degree programme I did finally under-take and completed with first class honours in 2014. My journey has come full circle but my practice now uses a broader media palette. What has become vital in my work can be described by Sol LeWit, “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work […. “, now the use of ceramics within my work holds a more pertinent conviction and relevant direction. These ideas are reflected in my award-winning thesis Fragility and Permanence: The Subversive Possibilities of Clay in Contemporary Art.
A rugged coastline, a spectacular view of Roaring Water Bay, prolific Fuchsia magellanica and brightly painted houses is where I live. West Cork has a big landscape with big views of Kerry’s tall mountains to the west and a rocky Island studded coastline to the south. It’s a place of immense beauty, a place with deep secrets and a place that is truly inspirational. To swim in its waters focuses mindfulness in me. There is no other element that lightens the heaviness of our being and that can transform and expand our intuitive earthly limitations. This is what I seek to capture in my work.