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Claire Ireland Ceramic Beasts

March 17, 2014

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Busy Ceramist Claire Ireland not only spends her week moulding and creating new pieces in her studio at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum but she also teaches and takes on commissions for her beautiful sculptural forms. You can see a few of these below.

Claire says “Teaching has been an important part of my creative life. Sharing ideas with others and passing on skills and techniques is something that I enjoy. It is getting the right balance between the teaching and making that is important and on the whole I have managed to do that.”

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Sometimes her work adds a presence to a space, that almost makes that space feel whole again. It’s as though the area hadn’t been complete until Claire’s sculpture joined it. It completes rather than competing with the forms surrounding it.

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Here are some of the drawings Claire made at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. A great place for texture and detail discovery.

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But for me it’s Claire’s creatures or ‘beasts’ (as she likes to refer to them), that really caught my attention. Here are some early creations, the lion was inspired by an african gold lion and the larger image was based on a Chagall Painting and was made for a client for their wedding cake.

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I feel the latest versions of Claire’s Beasts are wonderful. I love their earthy colouration and the fact that in some instances you’re left uncertain as to what the creature is, pure genius. And before you comment…obviously, I do know a horse when I see it lol : )

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But what are these ?

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I asked Claire where the notion for her remarkable creatures came from.

” The beast was originally inspired by a wonderful exhibition at the Museum of Mankind here in London, which sadly no longer exists. It was part of the British Museum at the back of the Royal Academy and a real favourite of mine. Curated by Eduardo Paolozzi and called ‘The Lost Magic Kingdoms’ (1986) where he selected works from the museums archives. Among the exhibits was a small creature made by the Inuit people which might have been a bear. It had fragments tied to his tummy which was apparently to ward off evil spirits. So I have made various creatures but as they are all been hand-built – they have varied over the years in proportion and size and decorated in different ways. More recently I also came a cross a cave painting of a bear which also help to inspire another variation. The ancient world and tribal culture has always held a great fascination for me. I tend to call them beasts or creatures because they resemble several animals and I quite like that ambiguity ”

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And finally a few elongated and animated dogs, OOOOWWWWW they’re fabulous. I’d love one of these.

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The next time you’re making some dogs Claire can you make me a tiny one of these please ?

Thanks for your help and in answering my questions too. You can discover more about Claire’s talents through her website here.

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