Fired up from her trav­els

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

What’s your back­ground?

>> I grad­u­ated from the Na­tional Col­lege of Art and De­sign with a de­gree in Ce­ram­ics in 2011. The work I made then was en­tirely dif­fer­ent­to­my­cur­rent­work— one-off, highly de­tailed sculp­tures which re­flected my po­lit­i­cal be­liefs and took months to com­plete. I ex­hib­it­ed­my­workex­ten­sively and got a great re­sponse, but af­ter a year I re­alised it wasn’t pos­si­ble to make a full-time liv­ing from it. In 2013, I em­barked on an amaz­ing busi­ness course with the Ig­nite Acad­emy, and 2014 was all about re­search and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. In 2015, DANU Ce­ram­ics was launched.

What’s a typ­i­cal work day like for you?

>> I start off ev­ery day an­swer­ing any emails and do­ing ad­min. Then I be­gin pro­duc­tion. Each mak­ing day can be dif­fer­ent — one day could be non-stop cast­ing; an­other could be jew­ellery mak­ing, or glaz­ing, or ap­ply­ing the gold lus­tre, or fin­ish­ing and re­fin­ing pieces be­fore they are fired. Most days I will be load­ing or un­load­ing the kiln. I tend to work at night.

What is a re­cent/favourite project you have worked on?

>> I’ve been work­ing on a col­lec­tion of high-end pen­dant lights made from rus­tic black clay and 22k-gold lus­tre, hang­ing from a hand­crafted leather and brass chain. It is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with a Hol­ly­wood-based con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture de­signer, Thomas Hayes.

He re­cently opened an­other gallery in Tribeca, Man­hat­tan, which I will be vis­it­ing in April. We are also col­lab­o­rat­ing on smaller pieces for the high-end, lux­ury gift mar­ket. I’m ex­cited to see where this will go, as well as en­ter­ing into a whole dif­fer­ent type of mar­ket on a new con­ti­nent.

>> I like to play around with dif­fer­ent styles, but gen­er­ally my work is a com­bi­na­tion of or­ganic and el­e­gant that dis­plays well in both rus­tic and ur­ban set­tings. Many of my bowls are from slip-cast porce­lain. This gives a very light and re­fined look. The 22k gold lus­tre on the rim is the ideal fin­ish­ing touch that makes each bowl pop — giv­ing them an ethe­real, lux­u­ri­ous yet hand­made aes­thetic when com­bined with the porce­lain and translu­cent glazes.

>> My tagline is: Made in Ire­land, in­spired by a jour­ney. Much of my work is in­spired by my trav­els and I have ranges in­spired by Ra­jasthan (In­dia), Lom­bok (In­done­sia) and Is­tan­bul (Turkey).

My gold de­cal work, us­ing ferns, in­sects and feathers, was in­formed by the Vic­to­rian nat­u­ral­ist, Al­fred Rus­sel Wal­lace, who hugely con­trib­uted to the the­ory of evo­lu­tion. It is my own con­tem­po­rary take on the pages of his sketch­books.

What’s your de­sign style? What in­spires your work? What’s your favourite trend at the mo­ment?

>> I love how peo­ple are re­ally ap­pre­ci­at­ing hand­crafted pieces, as in, pieces that ac­tu­ally look hand­made and not ster­ile and fac­tory-pro­duced. Al­though I think this is more of a move­ment than a trend — a kind of back­lash against mass-pro­duced items.

What’s your most treas- ured pos­ses­sion?

>> My most use­ful pos­ses­sion is my kiln! In terms of trea­sured items, I’ve col­lected pieces from each coun­try I’ve vis­ited, such as vin­tage posters and prints, lanterns, ce­ram­ics, brass­ware, tex­tiles, minia­ture paint­ings, stone/wood­work and masks. I see these as one pos­ses­sion — a col­lec­tion of arte­facts that re­flect my life so far.

Who would be your favourite de­signer or style in­spi­ra­tion?

>> I love the work of ar­ti­sans that I’ve seen whilst trav­el­ling. I vis­ited Mai­son et Ob­jet in Paris last Septem­ber and found a brand called Chuk Palu by Rahim Wal­izada, my favourite in the whole show. He is a ma­jor leader of a new move­ment in Afghanistan that seeks to bring folk­loric craft tra­di­tion into the realm of high and con­tem­po­rary art. ■

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

>> I’d love to do a res­i­dency some­where in far-east Asia, where ce­ramic art, and es­pe­cially porce­lain works, are revered. ■

Have you any de­sign tips for us?

>> In a world with ris­ing land­fills and un­eth­i­cal labour prac­tices, it makes sense to buy prod­ucts for your home that are of qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, eth­i­cally made, long-last­ing and with a com­pelling story. If you can, cre­ate some of your

Teal bowls from DANU ce­ram­ics, €15-€35.

Left: Black and gold bowls, €16; right: White and Gold Feather Ring Bowl, €15, all from from DANU ce­ram­ics.

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