Porcelain is the perfect material to convey the delicate features of many of the flowers planted in the grounds of Russborough House were I have my studio. I find myself drawn to the intricacy of plants, examining the veins of a leaf, how its edges are shaped, and the layering of a flower’s petals. A magnificent white clematis, planted by Lady Beit, is the inspiration behind a series of decorative, unglazed wall pieces and a large glazed decorative table centre piece. Each dome shaped base is covered with individual handmade flowers and leaves…..a collage….a permanent bouquet. The material used is grogged porcelain flax paper clay and the work is left to dry for about 4 weeks. Glazing takes place at this stage and all pieces are fired once to 1260 degrees centigrade.
2015 was the ‘YEAR OF DESIGN’ and Russborough House asked all the Artisans to design a piece to mark this occasion. Each Artisan made an exhibition piece in response to the House and there was a Grand Opening on July 18th. I photographed the actual clematis flowers and had them printed on board and layered the cut-outs as a backdrop for the porcelain domes.
The poet Diarmuid Johnson wrote a poem celebrating this wonderful clematis and the pieces were accepted into the ‘Art of Clay – All Fired Up’ exhibition which ran during the IAC conference in Dublin in September 2014.
On the sun-drenched wall
We waited for shadow
As though the summer light,
Proud but alone,
Were not enough to charm the eye.
Soon then, out of the distant sky,
A hundred wings grow and grow
Until cascading low,
They found a wall, a sundrenched wall,
And, gladdening the cloudy eye,
Became a hundred blooms.
Now the wings and shadow dance
And summer light
Is deeper than a sigh.