1. Tell us about your path to becoming a maker?
My practice is rooted in craft and making. As a child I was influenced by the many makers and menders in my family. I observed their respect for things patiently made by hand and the legacies those objects can carry.
On leaving school, I was introduced to many new materials and making traditions at Grennan Mill Craft School (Kilkenny, Ireland) that continue to influence my ceramic work today.
I chose to study ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art because I wanted my practice to be directed by a single material that not only presented many possibilities and challenges but that also retained strong links with history and community.
2. Tell us about your materials and techniques?
My chosen material is porcelain paper-clay; animal forms are hand built and their decorative surfaces are made from a collage of thin sheets of encaustic patterned clay.
Each pattern is initially created separately using coloured slips, and hand and digitally cut stencils. These patterned sheets are then cut into pieces and applied to the surface as a veneer. The completed works are fired to 1260° C.
3. Tell us about the work you are presenting with Craft Scotland at Collect 2022?
The work I am presenting at Collect represents a development of technique and aesthetic of my ‘Bestiary’ collection.
These ‘Bestiary’ animals were originally inspired by some of the earliest documentations of catalogued, categorised and allegorical animals and their decoration was informed by medieval encaustic tiles.
Intended to reference their animal namesakes, these works are more importantly representations of handmade interpretations of animals. Relics that may suggest a past purpose and significance. These animals aim to request a story of how, why and when they were made.
Hare and Goat 2022 are ‘over embellished’. Their surfaces, made from thousands of sometimes tiny pieces of porcelain individually applied, aim to acknowledge the patience and time involved in needlepoint, bricolage, tapestry or domestic craft.
4. Tell us about a special detail from this new body of work?
The grey geometric semicircle pattern on the Goat’s back was labor-intensive but fun to make. It was created by applying fine strips of printed patterned paper porcelain in a concentric configuration within a grid format.
5. What do you hope the viewer will take away from this work?
I would like the viewer to be curious about the work, and hope that the work would ask questions of them.
I would also hope that the work might suggest a quiet sensitive presence and ultimately prompt a smile from those it might engage.