Forty years a growing

Laura McNamara, Auctus, Porcelain and clear glaze

Laura McNamara, Auctus, Porcelain and clear glaze


October 1 2014

Having visited Culture of Clay, currently showing at the Hunt Museum Limerick, I sat down to write a short piece on the exhibition, wondering what angle I might take. I considered nostalgia; as a former graduate of Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD), I enjoyed reading Jim Dennison’s catalogue essay, charting the history of the Ceramics Department. It was informative and funny while at the same time offering a valuable reminder of attitudes and perceptions of ceramics in Ireland (and internationally) over the years. Or perhaps diversity; the work in this exhibition offers many narratives and themes.

As Eleanor Flegg notes in her catalogue essay, ‘Many things can be done with clay.’ Then there’s opportunity; from the perspective of someone who frequently meets with makers to discuss their work and the direction it might take, Culture of Clay, illustrates many options including the figurative work of Evelyn Kelly, Marcus O’Mahony’s thrown and altered vessels, Anthony Horrigan’s tableware, Jackie Maurer’s adornment and Clara Ryan’s social commentary through installation. Of course there’s also achievement; Culture of Clay celebrates the strength and diversity of the Ceramics Department of LSAD. It has both reflected and shaped the story of ceramics in Ireland since 1974 and long may it continue to do so.

So visit Culture of Clay before it finishes on October 12th – to use a very overused cliché, there really is something for everyone in this exhibition.


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Frances McDonald