Irish Ceramic Art – Ciara O’Keeffe Ceramics
Ciara O’Keeffe is a Ceramic Artist who hails from Athy in Co. Kildare – my hometown. Ciara is a talented Artist, an Art Teacher, a Mammy, a Wife and to top all her multi-tasking loves and duties, she’s really sound.
Now you may think I’m biased because we grew up in the same town, and you could be right but you can’t argue the fact that with credentials like the ones I’ve exampled below – this woman has what it takes to create an impression with her beautifully sculpted ceramic creations.
Ciara has had:
- work featured in London’s Saatchi Gallery
- work commissioned as presentation pieces for the former Chilean Ambassador to Ireland; Alberto Yoacham Soffia, the Edmund Rice Trust, Dublin City Council, The Department of Foreign Affairs, The Royal College of Surgeons and the former President of Ireland; Mary Mc Aleese.
Ciara is also the Founder of The 1916 Sackville Street Art Project – an exhibition of 262 model houses that were lovingly created by volunteers from the Island of Ireland to represent the 262 civilians killed during the 1916 Rising. The exhibition took place at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin for the month of April 2016 to coincide with the 1916 Rising celebrations.
Ciara’s artwork involves the use of different textures to create her final works of art. From everyday objects to specific fabrics, from hand-made paper to traditional ceramic clay. Love and attention is poured into each piece with special consideration made to emphasise the journey it took to get to where it is.
Like to know more about Ciara, and her work? Then you’ll enjoy the following:
Q&A’s with Irish Artist Ciara O’Keeffe
1. What was your inspiration to become an Artist?
I suppose I grew into it. From as far back as I can remember I was making “stuff” out of found objects from my Mothers workshop (she made curtains and soft furnishings). I had a bumpy start and I lacked a lot of confidence in myself and my artistic worth. It wasn’t until the last few years that I can finally say that I’m confident in my abilities. I always needed reassurance that what I was making was acceptable and I was too focused on making products for sale……It wasn’t until I started to get disillusioned with my art and where I was going, that I stopped and reassessed why I was making art and who for? I realised I needed to make art for ME, my soul requires it and my sanity is grateful for it …
2. How did you officially become an Artist?
I can’t say I officially became an artist. I think when I started to get commissions and my work started to sell, that is when I became an “Artist” to those around me. I’ve always known that I was creative and that’s where my strengths lay. I think to others they measure your success as an artist on the amount of exposure you get and the amount of money you make, for me it’s the satisfaction of finishing a piece and being proud of it.
3. Where do you take creative inspiration from for your work?
My inspiration comes from a number of places. I’m greatly influenced by my family and my past. Also derelict buildings, after the person/people have moved on. What is left behind is a shell of what was once a home, full of stories and family history. I’m a deep thinker and when I’m on my own I love listening to music and from there, the concepts that I take from music are the preliminary point to many of my projects. I’m a sucker for older music especially from my parents’ generation, I think it’s because from an early age it’s all I heard.
4. What’s the wackiest request you’ve had to date for commission work?
I have to admit I haven’t been asked to make anything wacky yet but I bet after writing this that I’m going to get a few strange requests.
5. What would be your ultimate commission?
I would be so honoured to create a piece for the 262 civilians who lost their lives in the 1916 Rising. Harry Clarke the stained glass artist is a hero of mine and I adore his large beautiful stained glass panels and I would love to create a ceramic panel that could be placed somewhere that would enable the viewer to spend time reflecting on how far or not Ireland has come in the past 100 years.
6. Where would you love to exhibit your work – the dream?
My ultimate dream wouldn’t be where to exhibit my work but with whom. Grayson Perry is an English Ceramic artist and artistically a very accomplished all round artist. He encompasses all that I love about Ceramics. For me, a chance to exhibit with Grayson would be the moment that I’d know I had arrived. But until that day the Guggenheim would do!!!!LOL!!!!!
Images featured are of Ciara O’Keeffe Ceramics – ‘Dwellings’ Collection.
For more of Ciara’s works of art, to purchase or enquire about commissioning a piece, visit the Ciara O’Keeffe website ciaraokeeffe.ie.