Tell us a little bit about what you make:
I make a variety of tableware using both stoneware clay and more recently, local clay from the Dublin mountains. Each piece is hand thrown in my studio in Shankill and glazed using a variety of bought glazes and again, more recently, my own glaze recipes. The glaze tones I generally use are quite earthy and minimal.
Could you describe your studio to us? What is your favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?
My studio is an 8foot by 8foot lean-to shed in my garden which I bought last Summer. I built the internal worktops etc. myself. This was an upgrade from the ……shed I was squeezing into prior to that. My favourite thing about the space is the light, I added an extra window just before the Summer of this year and having the brightness and view of the sky as I sit at my wheel helps my creativity. To get into the mindset of making I think that the music I listen to really helps me to focus, listening to music while staring at a spinning wheel is hypnotic and really pulls me into my craft. The ever-growing number of shelves which I have built in my studio gives me that added burst of motivation to fill them with new creations.
What is your favourite tool and why?
When I started pottery last April I made all of my tools from items around my house, and since I have progressed further, some of these tools have been upgraded to bought pottery tools created for the craft, however my favourite tool to use is still an old kitchen steak knife which, having tried and tested many other tools at this stage, never fails and just feels right in my hand.
Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your local clay bowls?
I dug the local clay from the Dublin mountains, about 20 minutes’ drive from where I live in Shankill. It’s quite a labour-intensive process which includes breaking it down, sieving it several times, washing it twice, drying it, and finally wedging it (kneading it), from there it can finally be thrown, dried, trimmed, bisque’d in the kiln for 19 hours, waxed, glazed, and fired again for 19 hours!
The inspiration behind my clay bowls was to firstly keep it local, to have handmade Irish ceramics made from hand-dug Irish clay! I think that these products are really beautiful in that they let the natural surface speak for themselves, the minerals in the clay also cause a change in the glazes used as the natural compounds seep into the glazes which is something I find really exciting!
What led you to choose this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? What do you dislike?
I’ve been making ceramics for little over a year now. I was a chef for 12 years and I have always had an interest and passion for ceramics, after returning from traveling for 2 years around South America and Australia I decided to buy some clay one day and have a go, from there I decided I liked it and to take a break from cooking professionally and focus on making pottery and it all has kicked off since then.
What I love most about what I do is that I’m making something that can last forever, we all have a favourite mug or a something that reminds us of a time or a person who gave it to us, I like the idea that something I make could be passed down and looked after “remember when we got those mugs in Ireland”, I think that’s kind of special.
What I dislike about this craft, at the moment, is that I’m used to working as part of a team and at the moment I spend a lot of time by myself, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it’s quite different for me, I could see myself possibly working in a collective studio of some variety in the future.
-Images by Alex Louviers
You can purchase a selection of Daniel's work here.