Tell us a little bit about what you make
I make a range of hand-thrown tableware, made from Stoneware clay that are designed for everyday use.
Could you describe your studio to us? What is your favorite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?
At the moment I work between two studios. Both of which I share with my husband Ceramic artist Andrew Ludick. Our studio and shop in Castlecomer Discovery Park and the studio we built at home (4 miles outside Castlecomer) since the kids came along. We split our time between the two so one of us can be home with the children. The studio/shop in the Discovery Park is a converted stable dating back to the seventeen hundreds with exposed stone walls and a red brick floor and our studio at home is a modern wooden structure with plenty of light. Both spaces are great to work in. I love the warm bright feeling I get from our home studio and in our shop/studio, I like being in a space where I'm away from the children and I can focus more on getting work done. So these days the only mindset I need to get into to make is a quite space away from little people.
What is your favorite tool and why? Where do your tools come from?
I have gathered many tools over the years but actually only use three or four on a regular basis. The one I use in the making of every pot is a plastic kidney (it's shaped like a kidney hence the name) I use it to smooth and shape the outside of my pots before I take them off the wheel and I made it myself from the lids of the catering buckets of mayonnaise. I've been making them for nearly 20 years and find that the Hellman's mayonnaise catering bucket lid is the perfect strength of plastic. I also have a porcupine quill which I got from a famous American potter Warren MacKenzie many years ago (he is over 90 now and still making pots) that is an amazing tool for putting holes in teapots among other things and a joy to use. I've since bought more from America as they do wear out after a while.
Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your work?
Throwing the pots is actually the fastest part of the process it's all the other parts that take time. I weigh out the clay so each cup, bowl, etc. Is the same weight of clay and for my stacking range I set a pointer to make sure each pot is the same size. With my other ranges, I don't do this so these pots are a little more organic. With the stacking range, they need to be exact so they stack neatly. I then let the pots dry for a day or so (depending on the weather) then trim and stamp the bottoms and it's at this stage I add handles if required. After a week or so drying, they are bisque fired up to 1000 degrees C. They come out white, strong enough to handle easily and porous, it's at this stage I glaze them by dipping them into a large bucket of glaze and wiping the bottoms clean then they go back into the kiln and are fired up to 1290 degrees C. This firing takes 12 hours and then a further 24 hours before the kiln is cool enough to open. Then the pots either get packaged up to go out to shops or brought the short distance from the kiln shed to our shop.
I love to make pots. I love the physical act of throwing. I love the challenge of throwing pots that are uniform and exact in a short space of time. It's the joy of cooking and using pots in everyday life that inspire my designs. Function is an important aspect of my work, simple shapes that work well. We live up the hills and on walks along our quiet country road you go from hedgerows to pine forest to hill top views with the vast expanse of fields, distant mountains and big, big skies. All of these things soak into my work.
What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?
I studied Graphic Design for a couple of years after leaving school and following that I took up a night class in pottery while working in Dublin, this was the first time I worked with clay and I loved it straight away. I applied for and got accepted to Grennan Mill craft school and following that the DCCOI Pottery Skills course in Thomastown. That was twenty-three years ago and I have never looked back. I trained as a production thrower, so I'm happiest at the wheel. I am completely at ease while throwing pots and count myself very fortunate to call it my Job.
You can purchase Rosemarie's stacking collection both online and from our Drury street location.