Our October featured maker is Daniel Kavanagh, a ceramicist based in Nairnshire.
“I began my BA honours degree in 3D design ceramics at Loughborough College where I learnt and developed all the basic skills of working with clay, but it was during this training I became drawn to the idea of working with metal. So I then changed direction and then began training as a bronze chaser at Pangolin Editions bronze foundry. After nearly 8 years in this work I felt that I wanted to return to being a maker and begin creating my own work rather than just working on other people’s artwork.”
Daniel now creates work made with earthenware and paper clay, using hand built and thrown techniques to make sculptural forms.
“I am inspired by both natural and man-made contrasts. Through the use of drawn marks and exploration of tone, the surface finish is often a limited colour palette of ceramics slips and in contrast polished bronze metal. The metal is a core element to the work; I enjoy the challenge of exploiting the use of both bronze and clay within one form.”
Selected as one of the participants of the HI-Arts Making Progress scheme, Daniel spent six months working with a mentor, before having his first solo exhibition.
“This programme gave me structured time to reflect on the direction I wanted to move my work with the support of a mentor to guide and advise me in all aspects of being a maker, and crucially in deciding which direction I wanted to take my work. The final stage being the exhibition its self, it was a real learning curve, which I feel has equipped me with valuable skills and confidence for the future.”
“Also the opportunity to talk with people who view my work at a show or in my galley space, as it is always fascinating to hear their views about my work and gives me useful feedback to reflect on when I am back in my studio making.”
Daniel was recently accepted onto a Highland Craft residency at Cove Park, a centre for the arts and creative industries located near Loch Lomond. The Highland Craft residency is an annual programme to support new work by emerging and established Scottish artists.
“This was the first time I had been on a residency and it was a unique opportunity to have time out to reflect on what I have achieved over the past 18 months. It also gave me creative time to experiment creating new designs and considering alternative techniques for a fresh body of work, this was an inspiring location to create new ideas and to have protected time without the usual day to day distractions of running your own business. I came away with clear ideas about how I would like to increase the scale of my work.”
Daniel plans to secure more exhibition opportunities, both solo and group, as well as extending his gallery space and developing a programme of ceramic workshops.
“I would like to develop this project as something that is dedicated to highlighting the quality and diversity of Scottish ceramics. This feels even more important since the closure of all ceramic degree courses in Scotland, I want this project to inspire and stimulate people to remain interested in ceramics as a craft and make it accessible to people who may be interested in learning the craft.”