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Springtime and new work, new plans

1st February onwards in Ireland is the beginning of our Springtime, what a wonderful time in the calendar. Birds start singing again and are looking for a mate ! I was in a forest the other day and the sound of the birds singing was just so refreshing after the long quiet winter. Have a listen below to a little recording I made.

Early Birdsong recorded February 2021

I too am busy with new work, creating, designing, making. It’s a busy time and as I always say I am lucky to work from my home studio. See one of my new pieces in the making below, the cell structure and hexagonal shape of the honeycomb fascinate me. Examples from nature are beehives ,honeycomb and wasps nests. The cell structure is a hexagonal mathematical shape and I love they way it holds together structurally. We had a wasps nest in our attic a few years ago and that paper structure was amazing to hold ( once abandoned!) It was made from paper/wood pulp. My piece is inspired by these hexagonal natural shapes, it’s a strong structure and hopefully mine holds up well in the kiln.

Sneak peek of new Porcelain work in the making, hexagonal shapes in nature fascinate me
Uplifting Spring sunshine from Marlay Park Feb 2021

Some good news , I have been selected for the forthcoming ArtnetDLR Online exhibition “Transition” , photos and video to follow once that is launched. https://artnetdlr.ie/

In Ireland we learned today that our lockdown may well be extended until May 2021, this will be a blow if it is indeed true. We all have vulnerable family and if this is for the public good then we we will all need to embrace this extension of our lockdown..

In the meantime I will continue working and planning for new pieces and new opportunities to exhibit this year, hopefully some exhibitions will go ahead from the Summer onwards , fingers crossed 🤞

Snow in the Dublin Hills

Snow in The Dublin Hills

Last week we had snow and I took full advantage and headed to the hills to get inspiration and to walk in the white stillness. I love the snow, its a rare visitor in Ireland as we are protected from snowfall by the gulf stream. Warm air is carried up to Ireland on the gulf stream all year round and this gives us a warmer temperatures than other similar latitude countries. The Gulf Stream also ensures that the Irish coastline remains ice-free throughout winter.  I live beside the hills so we are just above the snow line here and if Dublin gets any snowfall , we generally get to enjoy it !

The Gulf Stream

People think that the porcelain clay i use in my practice is white and it normally does look quite white on first inspection but its amazing how cream in colour Porcelain looks against the blue white colour of real snow. I have a plan to bring some of my pieces up to the hills and photograph them against the snowy backdrop and show this contrast in colour. I believe there is more snow on the way in the next day or so, so i will have to make good my promise.

“White” Porcelain – is it so snowy white ?

Bare Trees covered in snow in the woods

The sounds of the river flowing down from the hills running unseen echo through the shadowy trees. The white ground and sky create a wonderful vista, a treat for the senses.

I think of Robert Frost’s poem –

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Snowy Woods

Review of 2020

Happy New Year to all readers, 2021 crept in quietly here in Ireland, we rang in the New Year in our own homes with our direct family. It’s been a year of incredible losses especially my dear Mother in Law Pauline who was taken from us in March. Her love of her family most especially and her love of her garden with it’s unusual plants and flowers has always inspired me.

2020 we had no idea how simple a touch or a hug or a hand holding was until the year we were told we couldn’t do this. I really miss sitting close to people I love who I don’t live with, sharing a quiet chat, going to a swimming pool, going to the cinema, sharing a table in a restaurant and feeling relaxed. For me as an artist I had more time to create and produce new work , I was lucky I had my studio in my garden and could work independently and produce work, this kept me busy and I am grateful for that. I was also incredibly lucky to have been awarded two Grants from my local Council Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown https://www.dlrcoco.ie/en/dlr-arts I created new work “Natures Window” up in the hills beside my home , see more information on this installation in this blog post – https://andreaceramics.com/2020/10/19/ceramic-sculptures-installation-natures-window/

“Natures Window” 2020

2020 was also the year I was chosen to create new porcelain ceramic work for Sculpture in Context 2020 – “Floral Portals” was created for The Botanic Gardens in Dublin and instead had to contend with hanging in my back garden under an exposed metal parasol ! Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We had the opportunity to video the work and send it out but I really would love to see this work hung the way I had envisaged it hanging over the raised bed in the beautifully restored Alpine House , maybe one day 🙂

Floral Portals 2020 Sculpture in Context

2020 was also the Year I was selected to exhibit with Ceramic Ireland in the wonderful Farmleigh Gallery, what an experience that was! I was incredibly humbled to have my work exhibited in such amazingly talented company. My large hanging piece “Cascade” was curated so well by Tina and Elaine at Ceramics Ireland and hopefully all the work in “Land/Marks” will get another showing this year due to its early closing.

“Cascade” 2020 Farmleigh Gallery

I am a member of the artists collective ArtnetDLR and it has been a good year for the group, we may yet have a home in 2021 to exhibit our work, fingers crossed. We had to contend with online exhibitions only this year and I was successful in a number of these. I am currently working with the very talented Anne Curran on a collaboration for this year “ Metamorphosis “ , watch this space.

“Flowering Feldspar” online in Earth exhibition

I finished off the year of 2020, by exhibiting in the Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon County Clare in their Winter Open exhibition. https://thecourthousegallery.com/item/676-winter-exhibitions What a wonderful gallery and I am sorry to have not been able to get to see it myself, the plans of mice and men … As of writing it’s still open but online only as Galleries had to close recently. My piece “Sea Drift I” 18cm x 22 cm is still available.

“Sea Drift I” 2020

New Work at The Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon, Clare

A new piece titled “Sea Drift I” is available to view and purchase from The Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon Co. Clare in their Winter Open. This piece is 18cm x 22cm, porcelain ceramic sculpture.

http://thecourthousegallery.com/

Update – Now available to purchase online directly from the gallery as all Galleries Closed again since Christmas in Ireland. See long link below which brings you straight to my piece.

“Sea Drift I” Link to purchase here

“Sea Drift I”

This piece is part of new work I am working on at the moment, I really missed the sea in the lockdown as I was just outside the 5km and I really missed seeing the waves crashing on the shore at Killiney or walking the pier at Dun Laoghaire and this work evolved out of this. I Hope people like it.

The Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon is now unfortunately closed due to increased numbers in Ireland of Covid 19, The exhibition has gone online for a short time until 14th January 2021.

Autumn colours in the hills above Dublin

It’s a wonderful time to get out in the hills as the leaves are changing into wonderful autumn colours, reds , golds, browns all shades of green in there too.

Out walking

I love to collect a few seed heads of common plants for artistic inspiration. I spotted quite a few colourful toadstool mushrooms which I didn’t go near as I have no knowledge and I wouldn’t even risk touching one of these fungi but I do love to photograph them. I love the autumn colour that these colourful mushrooms bring with them and I am fascinated with the gills and their symmetry.

Toadstool in the forest

I think of Keats poem – Ode To Autumn

“Season of Mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; ” How evocative and eloquent.

I love these burnt orange colours my favourite of the autumn colours. Its great to act like a kid and walk a path strewn with dried leaves and give them a good kick as you walk in the local park. Reflections in the lake in Marlay Park are so still at this time of year. Cutting a pumpkin for Halloween and making a spooky face to scare off the ghosts that walk closer to us at this time of year, or so we believe in Ireland.

Marlay Park

Happy Halloween to everyone