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May Day in Ireland

My Donegal grandmother Annie told me as a child if on 1st May I put the first dew on the grass on my face it would mean I would be beautiful when I grew up! I wonder how far back this Irish folk tradition goes and if it is indeed of scientific merit 😉 See below my grandmother was indeed right and on searching for this custom, I found it on The National Museum of Ireland’s Our Heritage site –

“This water and May morning dew was believed to be good for the complexion. Traditional riddle: I wash my face in water that has never rained nor run and dry it in a towel that was never wove on spun. [A face washed in May dew and dried in the open air]

May was always in my childhood the month of processions, flowers in windows, statues and the white veils from Communion girls. It’s an important month in the agricultural calendar too but that didn’t really figure in my city childhood.

Traditional May Day Customs in Ireland

Grass with bluebells on 1st May at Botanic Gardens Dublin

The 1st of May or May Day in Ireland traditionally marks the beginning of Summer. It was always in my youth a sunny day and this year in 2021 it didn’t disappoint. It heralded for me the beginning of our recovery out of lockdown, we can now travel within our county and a trip was in order.

For my May 1st this year we headed to The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, the riot of colour from the rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias is worth the trip. I have a submission to make for this years Sculpture in Context exhibition so I like to remind myself of the landscape and beauty of the place and to be inspired as an artist.

Rhododendron in bloom Botanic Gardens, Dublin

I will take quite a number of photographs for a project like this and then go through them and do a few drawings. I already have an idea or two of what I would like to create, now I need to get that on paper. Unfortunately this year the glasshouses are fully closed so any work submitted must be outdoors or in the online gallery space.

I am at the final stages of working on my Metamorphosis piece for artnetdlr and this particular piece has challenged me enormously but it’s good to be challenged and to grow. it looks like we have a venue in DunLaoghaire, Dublin for the exhibition and it’s going to be quite exciting seeing the work exhibited.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone, hope Spring is in the air wherever you are. I have been busy as always working and creating in my studio and the weather has definitely improved lately. We are still in 5km lockdown here in Dublin but we are not letting it get us down, we are all keeping our collective chins up and we are nearly there.

I created a little piece for The Pluid Project, a callout to artists in Ireland to create a piece no bigger than 15cm x 15cm which will be displayed in early Summer here and eventually put up for sale by auction. The proceeds will go to Pieta House, a wonderful charity, see link below to the work they do.

https://www.pieta.ie/

The Pluid Project

I created a little Easter Tree for my home, a lovely idea I started when my children were small and It has become tradition here at Easter. I used Peacock feathers in this one to give a bit of height to it and my friend AnneMarie created the little ceramic pot decorations, which are so cute and colourful see link to her Instagram page below.

https://instagram.com/annemarie.ams?igshid=nh4auzatb03

Easter decorated Tree

New Work in the making – success and failure

Hi there , still busy and working away here in Dublin. We are still under strict lockdown rules here, stay within our own 5km and only essential retail open and no restaurants, cinema or outdoor gatherings at all really… it’s been tough and we are now officially a year in lockdown !

I have been busy making new work and I thought I would share a few sneak peaks at what I’m doing and give a little insight into the successes and failures of working with porcelain clay.

New large porcelain paperclay piece which is now collapsed!

The new work above is one of a pair of coral/honeycomb pieces and today this piece collapsed ! Working with clay can be precarious and this piece was too heavy and laden with clay so it caved in and collapsed! A lot of time and energy wasted but you live and learn and I will need to be careful with the replacement piece and take it a bit slower.

Life as a ceramic artist involves ups and downs, successes and failures and you just have to get used to this. I try to improve my process and hope that these failures make you a better more experienced artist in the longer term and that you learn from them.

Maquette of new hanging piece

I am working away on my collaborative piece with Artist Anne Curran for the Artnetdlr forthcoming exhibition, things are coming together nicely for us and I can’t wait for this exhibition and for a chance to show our collaboration. The image above is new hanging work in the making and I can’t deny I struggled with the design but I have worked at it and it’s coming together now.

ArtnetDLR Transition exhibition now online

Delighted to share that one of my new pieces “Back to Nature” is online and available for sale with ArtnetDLR Transition exhibition. This piece hangs at 210cm long and 37cm width. The porcelain pieces hang and move lightly on fishing line suspended from a transparent acrylic circular disc. Porcelain as a medium fascinates me with its versatility. I love it’s translucent quality and it’s adaptability for creating natural forms. I feel I am still at the start of this interesting journey with porcelain clay and creating sculptural forms.

It’s an honour to be selected with some wonderful artists from the South Dublin area. See link below to access the work –

Transition

Back to Nature video extract
Back to Nature 2021

Hopefully people can get a chance to browse through the work as it’s all for sale online.

See extract from ArtnetDLR mission statement-

“ArtnetDLR is a voluntary group of professional artists of every discipline, connected to Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown, working with the support of the Arts Office of DLR County Council. Our aim is to be a collective voice for the Arts in the local community through our actions”

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 🤞