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The Blog Posts that Time (me) Forgot



Written April 2023

So, to sum up the last 12 months, let’s see, well maybe I’ll start with this day last year, or near as damn it. I was getting ready to drive to Kenmare in County Kerry, Ireland, detouring to friends in Cork on the way. That was some drive plus a lot of wine was consumed (obviously not while the driving was taking place!)

The trip was to deliver 4 sculptural vessels to the Mill Cove Gallery. They had commissioned them after they awarded me the Irish Ceramics Award at the Sculpture In Context selected exhibition the previous autumn. Kenmare is such a lovely spot and the two Johns that own and run Mill Cove Gallery were even lovelier, it was a great trip.

When I got back to Belfast I had to finish the work for ‘Baggage’, a solo exhibition that was part of Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival due to open for a week in May(2022). I was very proud of that show, got to be honest.

I also had work to do for Form Sculpture Exhibition that takes place every June at Bangor Castles walled gardens. A really lovely event and well worth a visit. I made a couple of large Green Men, but I have to say I wasn’t overly happy with them but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

The year continued to unfold and Pete and I got over to Potfest Scotland for the second time, always a pleasure, then a month later to Oxford for Celebrating Ceramics at Waterperry Gardens and it was seriously hot!. While there I caught up with some old friends and my sister and her husband paid me a surprise visit. Doing both events again this year…must book ferries etc.

While I was running around the country, I was also planning my solo exhibition that took place in September at the lovely Cupola Gallery in Sheffield. I went with a mythological theme, calling it Myth Understood. There were centaurs and sirens and minotaurs and harpies and pan and cyclops and gods.

Loved making those pieces and had the loveliest time staying at a great B&B, meeting up with old friends, oh and getting Covid…yep it finally got me the bugger!


Written September 2023

Autumn is finally nudging summer out the way; it’s been another weird weather season of extremes in many places around the world but a mostly grey one here in Northern Ireland. A spurt of heat with actual sunshine in May and September a summer doth not make.

Anyway, despite all the ‘what shoes should I wear today’ days, it’s been a very busy one.

I will start with May as that’s when the first heatwave graced us, I was putting the finishing touches to my piece - ‘Joy’ - for Form Sculpture Exhibition taking place in June and making Humpty who was my entry into the Nursery Ryhme themed competition for Potfest Scotland also in June.

‘Joy’ is inspired by an evening many moons ago when my mum and I took advantage of an empty playground in Sydney, Australia. About 18 months after my dad had passed away, myself and art college friend, Emer, took ourselves off to Australia, encompassing, India, Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia on our way to that there land down-under.

Mum took a sudden rush of blood to the head and decided to fly out and spend Christmas with me out in Sydney. It was her first trip without dad.

One night she treated me to dinner out (not an uncommon occurrence to be honest) and on the way back to our digs we passed a small playground, it was about 10pm with no one about, so it seemed perfectly logical to us to have a go on the swings! Oh my word how we laughed and to this day mum and I still reminisce about our raucous joy having a good old swing.

I wanted to pay homage to those simple joys in life and to encourage the older generation to rediscover the joy of having a swing!

Humpty didn’t win the competition, but it was lovely to see the reactions to him as he lay mid autopsy.

Yes autopsy!

‘After the Fall: The Autopsy of Humpty Dumpty’

Largest piece I had done up to that point using porcelain, I salute all those who use porcelain!

He has since acquired a porcelain autopsy table and I am delighted to say will be exhibiting in The Royal Ulster Academy 142nd Annual Open Exhibition at the Ulster Museum this winter. *Humpty update - he has now found his forever home.*

While this was all going on a few of us at Conway Mill were trying to organise ourselves for an opportunity to have a group exhibition as part of the second Linen Biennial N. Ireland. We were originally thinking August so to coincide with a couple of other big festivals. In the end we had to do it in September, but more of that in the next blog post.

So, June came along, my 5 swinging ladies were up in Bangor Castle Walled Gardens, Humpty (minus autopsy table) was made and ready for what I now see as a dress rehearsal at the wonderful Potfest Scotland. Taking place early in the month Potfest is always great craic and good for the ceramics soul! This was my 3rd time there and now several familiar faces pop over to say hello, which is so lovely.

After Potfest I had some commissions to do, I had to replenish some of my jewellery and pothead stock, some new ideas I wanted to try and start on the Linen Biennial work…

To be continued...

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