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Summer 2021 - Part 2: Better Late Than Never

Well after a great experience at Potfest Scotland in June I was ready for more.


During the whole of June and while I was away at Potfest, Form Sculpture Exhibition was on at the Bangor Castle Walled Gardens in which I had a wee installation ‘Together Apart’. This was made up three groups of four figures in their ‘bubbles’ much like we were advised to do at the time. My photos of the piece definitely gave it a Dr Who vibe.

Together Apart - ForM sculpture exhibition, Bangor, co. Down 2021


Around this time, I took up membership with Ceramics Ireland and was very lucky to have three of my Queue figures in their annual Members Clay/Works exhibition at Dublin Castle. The rest of July was made up of getting ready for August Craft Month and a group exhibition opportunity for Artists At The Mill (a small group of the artists at Conway Mill who would regularly do events together) taking place at Culturlann Art Centre on the Falls Road, Belfast, during the Feile an Phobail (Peoples Festival). This continued into September and was titled In My Hearts Core. It was really lovely to do a show together as Artists At The Mill after a long hiatus.

Fragile Resilience 1, 2, 3 : In My Hearts Core, Artists At The Mill exhibition 2021.


In terms of August Craft Month, I saw an open call to submit a piece to the Craft NI exhibition ‘Re-New’. Craft NI is the main non-profit organisation that specifically works to support the craft and applied arts community in Northern Ireland. Again, luck was on my side as I saw this opportunity on the very last day you could submit and lo and behold my piece was selected.

This vessel represents the next step in the evolution of my Queue figures. As I experimented with the vessel’s construction, it occurred to me that these figures were, by coming together, literally supporting each other. Much like we have strived to do as a society during the pandemic. Then to my complete surprise and with great delight and pride ‘Queue Pot’ was awarded one of two Highly Commended Makers Prize. So chuffed!

Queue Pot - winner of Highly Commended Makes Prize, Re-New exhibition, Craft NI.


Quite a busy month, August, as it seems looking back, with two more firsts for me (and one for Belfast).

Belfast had it's first own Potters Market at Writer's Square, with huge thanks to Mud Ireland who organised the whole thing. It was brilliant, though originally it was meant to be on over 2 days but because of potential thunder and lightning storms was postponed a week. This meant some of the original potters couldn't take part due to other commitments so it only took place for one day, but what a great day it was. Rain stayed off until it was packing up time and there were so many folk passing through and I met some ceramicists that I had only ever seen on social media which was really lovely just as it had been at Potfest.

Then a week later my first visit to Galway when I took part in the Potters Market there. Was a great adventure driving down on my own, Pete couldn't spare the time off work. I had to drop off a piece in Dublin on the way as well which I have to say I wasn't looking forward to regarding the driving part, but no bother in the end.

Was another lovely experience. My hotel was like going back in time, reminding me of holidays when we were kids. Again meeting other ceramics artists, as well as some really interesting range of people from ceramic students, to visitors from all over Europe, to a lady who had worked in Galways own potteries having trained as a teenager in Stoke when she bid me farewell she was off for her daily evening swim. (This photo is actually from the Belfast market as I seem to have lost my Galway ones.)

The market takes place at the Spanish Arch in the centre of Galway right by the river and can be very blustery, but happy day we were spared bad weather though I was prepared with weighty bags of clay.


Back in May I had successfully submitted to Sculpture In Context, an annual exhibition shown at the Dublin Botanic Gardens in Autumn.

(Technically doesn't fit with the Summer title but sure I was making it all over the summer months between everything else and it had to be delivered in August so I'm allowing myself this one.)

Many pieces of various materials and sizes are installed throughout the gardens, but they also have an indoor gallery, and this is where I exhibited ‘Budding Vase’.

This is a continuation of the theme I had begun with Queue Pot but this time I began exploring the possibilities of textured surface using lace as a stencil for porcelain slip and oxides in various quantities and layers. I am very proud to say this piece was also awarded a prize, this time the Sculpture In Context Irish Ceramics Award 2021 given by Mill Cove Gallery, who also purchased it.

Budding Vase - winner of the Sculpture In Context Mill Cove Gallery Irish Ceramics Award 2021

Mill Cove Gallery is run by John Goode and John Brennan in Kenmare, County Cork. Haven’t managed to visit yet but have been commissioned to make a few similar pieces to Budding Vase so hope to deliver them in person by the time Spring has sprung.

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