For over two centuries, my ancestors were subsistence farmers in Ireland and Ontario. Their cycle of tilling, sowing, nurturing, harvesting and preserving is engrained in me. I find the rhythm and repetition of this kind of labour deeply rewarding. These farmers were by nature pragmatic, optimistic, altruistic and romantic. Working as a functional potter gives me a close sense of connection with those who make for the benefit of others.
I am drawn to clay because of its suppleness, its ability to yield, accept marks and respond to the human hand. It is exciting to take raw materials from the earth and to transform them through fire. The ceramic surface offers a chance to capture the colour and depth one might see in the sky, at the heart of a full-blown lily, on the surface of murky water, in an oil spot on asphalt.
Since 2014, I have been focussed on three separate bodies of work. The first is a series of functional objects intended for daily use. These vessels are highly coloured and individually painted before the final glaze is applied. These are my happy pots.
The second is a series of work specifically designed to take advantage of the firing process of the wood kiln. I have found that the action of flame and ash in the wood kiln can add another layer meaning to vessels and objects.
The third is a series of Rights of the Child Plates that are based on the Declaration of the Rights of the Child from the United Nations. Each plate contains a phrase from the Declaration written in Braille. Braille is used partly because of a personal association and also because children with special needs are the most vulnerable.