Mark Campden has had a relationship with clay since he was a small boy, growing up in a household full of ceramics and ceramic activities. His work is distinctive for the skill of his brushwork decoration, rich in imagery inspired by those formative years surrounded by ceramics and the constant observation of life in the natural world. Working in the majolica technique, his pieces are thrown or hand built in earthenware clay and covered with a tin glaze. The surface then becomes his canvas for meticulous decoration. Each detail in Mark's work is hand painted using traditional in glaze painting techniques. Since 2012 Mark has been making reduced pigment lustreware, an ancient Arabic technique using metal compounds in clay paste pigment painted onto an already glaze-fired surface. Pots then require precise temperature and a reduced atmosphere in a specially built wood kiln. This new direction is as rewarding as it is challenging.
Where: The Bridge Pottery, Burnchurch, Co. Kilkenny R95 Y586
Phone: 087 2313095
Observing the antics of birds in the garden Caroline is drawn to make playful sculptural bird forms with colourful decoration. Each bird has a character all its own that reveals itself as she models features onto its thrown and altered body form. Much of Caroline's studio time is spent on the production of her range of functional tableware where consistency of shape, size and decoration are important. The skills and thinking involved in making these sculptural figures are the complete antitheses. The form of each piece evolves organically from the tall, almost cylindrical shape that she first throws on the wheel. Once that form is closed in and altered then beak, eyes, crest and tail added, the clay transforms into a birdlike character. She carefully selects colours and decorates each piece aiming to accentuate the playful personality of each individual bird.
Where: The Bridge Pottery, Burnchurch, Co. Kilkenny R95 Y586
Phone: 086 8334923
Rosemarie Durr is a Kilkenny based Irish potter who hand throws a range of contemporary stoneware tableware which is designed for everyday use.She has a background in design and her distinctive powder blue and buttermilk white glazes are uplifting and fit into every home and lifestyle. The pots are thrown finely and are light to the touch more reminiscent of china ware than pottery. Rosemarie graduated from the Design and Crafts Council Pottery Skills Course in 1996 and went on to work in some of Ireland's leading production potteries. In 2004 Rosemarie set up a studio alongside her husband ceramic artist Andrew Ludick, in Castlecomer Discovery Park. They have a studio shop which is open to the public and visitors can get to see the making process as well as the great selection of pottery on display.
Where: Rosemarie Durr Pottery, Castlecomer Discovery Park, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 056 4440007 / 087 6833639
Klaus believes well crafted functional objects can enhance our daily lives. He has been making pots for over 25 years and still enjoys all stages of the creative process, from the initial idea to the finished piece. He is particularly interested in using the potters wheel as a creative tool, developing his own glazes and building kilns. Through his ever evolving understanding and mastery of materials he aims to produce pots that have resonance and meaning. Klaus's recent work is influenced by organic forms and the glaze he uses is trying to capture the qualities of light reflecting water or iridescent mother of pearl. He works at Baurnafea Studio in rural Kilkenny together with his wife Heike Kahle, a basket weaver. Together they create collaborative pieces combining woven materials and clay.
Sonja Guenther’s work explores mood and character of the architectural environment that surrounds us. She is interested in architecture and how buildings can evoke certain feelings in us. With age they take on an organic quality. Through movement and distortion in the buildings Sonja tries to capture some human qualities, giving them character and personality. Some pieces are caricatures of actual buildings, easily identified, others are fictional; some are based on a certain style, place or time, while her recent work is more abstract; exploring movement, colour and texture and the interplay between pieces. The houses are slab-built in stoneware clay with various types of surface decoration. They are oxidation fired to 1260 degree. Sonja also does a range of thrown vessels and takes commissions.
Where: The Watergarden, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 086 3050428
Bernard Kavanagh produces a range of 'wood fired' hand thrown functional pottery. The pottery is fired sustainably using a kiln designed to burn waste timber from a local saw mill. This method of firing pottery results in the fired pots being 'flashed' by the passage of the wood flames through the kiln. These flashing effects can be subtle or dramatic and are unique to this ecological method of firing. The pottery is glazed with a variety of original decorative glazes and is fired to stoneware temperature. Bernard makes simple elegant forms which are enhanced by this unique interplay of fire, clay and glaze.
Andrew Ludick's work has slowly evolved towards forms which illustrate the natural properties of clay and the processes he use to create them. The building of these forms involves coiling and pinching the clay to create vases, bowls and various other shapes. The slow process of coil building and the meditative aspects of pinching the clay take him into a space that allows a natural progression to happen where the form seems to build itself. The act of building with coils is a very organic way of growth. After the form is built it is decorated using shapes and patterns which compliment it. A piece for decoration is often either seen as a blank canvas to draw shapes on or an interesting form to compliment with patterns. The final pieces are covered in a clear transparent glaze which serves to deepen the colours and to seal the clay so it can be used for functional purposes. Some major influences come from Native American and African indigenous art and music. Also such artists and musicians as Paul Klee, John French, Peter Bruegel, Lester Young and Thelonious Monk. Andrew has recently designed platters and a bowl for Crate and Barrel, an American retail store and a range of hand tufted rugs with Ceadogan Rugs.
Where: Andrew Ludick Ceramics, Castlecomer Discovery Park, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 056 4440007 / 087 9108927
Gus produces functional ceramics, objects that fulfil a need but at the same time are the product of numerous decisions about form, proportion, line, surface, edges and colour that have little to do with the mechanics of function but everything to do with how we feel and respond to that object. He designs and develops ideas through drawing before starting work with the clay. The transition from two dimensions to three dimensions is a natural progression. A blank sheet of paper is a void capable of receiving three-dimensional thinking and for him throwing on the wheel is three-dimensional drawing, they are inextricably linked. Porcelain teapots, large platters and tiles represent his main body of recent work. He is also inspired by classic Chinese glazes, tenmoku, flambé, copper red and celadon.
Based in Kilkenny city, Aisling graduated from the DCCOI's Ceramics Skills and Design Course in 2016. She set up Aisling McElwain Ceramics later that year. Her work has been shortlisted for a number of awards and won the Image Interiors award for Best Table-ware in 2018. She makes simple, classic forms with a contemporary feel to create timeless pieces to suit any home.
Where: Unit 4, Abbey Business Centre, Abbey Street, Kilkenny.
Phone: 086 0703875
Claire Molloy specialises in horsehair and saggar fired ceramics. In 2012 she set up her studio in the beautiful surroundings of Rossenarra, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny. She is greatly influenced by the rural environment and likes to create natural looking forms with subtle colours and textures. Her love of horses directly influences her horsehair pottery. She uses hair from her own horse's manes and tails which she then places on the hot ceramic surface. The hair twists and turns as it burns in leaving behind a unique pattern of beautiful black lines. Claire also creates individual pots for horse owners, where each pot is decorated with hair from a particular horse to create a unique memento. Each piece is made solely by Claire and is either created on the pottery wheel or fashioned by hand. Claire has an honours degree in Sculptural ceramics from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and has attended the two year Crafts Council of Ireland Ceramics Skills and Design Course. In 2013 she was the winner of the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce Craft Business of the Year.
Where: Rossenarra, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 087 2146328
Nicholas Mosse began his pottery career at age 7. After studying in the UK (Harrow College), Scotland, France and Japan, he set up his workshop at home in Ireland in 1976. His mission was to work within traditional Irish vernacular styles and to create employment in the countryside. Many years later he now has converted an old flour-mill into his workshop and retail space, employing many local people and local power from the passing river. His current production uses strong earthenware (made in-house) and lively colourful motifs hand sponged and painted on good, simple shapes. His work is sold all over the world and has many collectors.