Glazing, studio process shot of ceramic outdoor sculpture - Surface Tension by Michelle Maher. This ceramic sculpture was inspired by the science of bubbles and was first exhibited at The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, Sculpture in Context 2011. It was hand built with Sgraffito marks using a grogged crank clay body and high fired in an electric kiln to 1260°C (Cone 8). www.ceramicforms.

About the Artist

My ceramic sculptures are an exploration of colour and texture. I am passionate about micro-organisms and unusual botanical forms and I often design my sculptures for installation in water…

– Michelle Maher

About the Artist

I am an award-winning Ceramic Artist who lives and works in Castleknock, Dublin.  Originally from Co. Tipperary, my journey in clay began in 2003 when I embarked on a dramatic change of career into the visual arts having worked as a Director for a multi-national retailer for a number of years.  I have an M.A. from NUI Maynooth (1996).

I have been the recipient of the prestigious Sculpture in Context Award for a Work of Distinction on a number of occasions as well as Public Sculpture Awards at Blarney Castle and Brigit’s Garden.  I regularly exhibit my sculptures in gardens and public spaces all over Ireland including The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin Castle, the Phoenix Park, Farmleigh House, Blarney Castle, Carton House, Brigit’s Gardens, Rathfarnham Castle, Ardgillan Castle, Castle Yard – Kilkenny, Ballintubbert Garden, Airfield House & The Open Window Gallery.

My work is held in the collections of numerous public school buildings, as well as Beaumount Hospital and in private collections for clients like Barnardos and Blarney Castle.

A keen area of interest is ceramic education; the role of artist as both practitioner and educator is something I have a big passion for.  I run a programme of weekly and weekend adult ceramic courses from my Dublin studio.

Installation process. Ceramic outdoor sculpture - Fusion by Michelle Maher, exhibited at Sculpture in Context at the The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. The piece is inspired by fungi and coral forms in nature and was sculpted in a crank stoneware clay body, fired to Cone 8 in an electric kiln. www.ceramicforms.com

Inspiration from bracket fungi, image by Derek Harper licenced under a Creative Commons licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFungi_in_Drive_Coppice_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1112624.jpg

Inspiration from bracket fungi, image by Derek Harper licenced under a Creative Commons licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFungi_in_Drive_Coppice_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1112624.jpg
Constructing one of the 'pollens' in my Dublin studio. Award winning ceramic outdoor water sculpture by Michelle Maher - Pollen Hotspot. The pollen were hand sculpted in my own grogged paper clay body and high fired in an electric kiln to 1260°C (Cone 8).The piece is inspired by microscopic pollen grains - measured in nanometers these tiny grains are perhaps natures greatest sculptures. www.ceramicforms.com

My ceramic sculptures are an exploration of colour and texture.  The idea of connection is central to my practice, both in terms of how my pieces connect to each other and how they connect to the space they exist in.

My work in clay is informed and inspired by plant and botanical forms; by coral and fungi; by marine fauna and of course by the microscopic.   In particular that part of our natural environment that is hidden from view or perhaps ignored is especially inspiring and continues to fascinate me.

All around us organisms are living, dying, reproducing and adapting at an incredible rate.  The science behind these everyday living things fascinates me and I seek to illuminate this world in my work and to take a snapshot in clay and make it accessible to all.

In exploring these concepts – clay with its amazing vigour, vitality and fluidity gives me the freedom to create wonderful textures, colours and forms.

My commitment to clay as a medium of expression is unfaltering – I simply love clay, no other material captures my imagination like clay does.

I am especially inspired when working on site-specific outdoor projects that allow me to respond to a particular environment or place.

Water, both still and flowing, is something I am very passionate about and I often design my pieces to be installed in a water setting.

Sculpture Awards

2016
2013
2012
2008
2004

Public Commissions

  • In 2013, I completed work on a Collaborative Public Art Project in Beaumont Hospital School.  The project involved working collaboratively with the young patients in the children’s ward.  The finished wall piece was inspired by microscopic patterns in plant stems and branching patterns in nature and was installed in the reception area of the children’s ward – St. Raphael’s Ward in Beaumont Hospital.
  • Through the Crafts Council of Ireland CRAFTed initiative in 2012, I worked with Castaheany Educate Together National School. in Dublin 15 to create a Collaborative Art Project inspired by Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio.
  • In 2012, I completed a large-scale commission for the Barnardos charity. Working in collaboration we created an 8m long ceramic wall sculpture inspired by the Aurora Borealis, the river Tolka and the science of bubbles
Installation process. Collaborative Public Art Project by ceramic artist Michelle Maher for the children's charity Barnardos. Working in collaboration with the children and staff we created an 8 meter long ceramic wall sculpture inspired by the Aurora Borealis, the local river Tolka and the science of bubbles. www.ceramicforms.com

Select Collaborative Public Art Commissions

Select Collaborative Public Art Commissions 2006-2013
  • In 2010, I worked with Scoil Thomáis National School, Laurel Lodge in Dublin 15 on a Collaborative Art Project through the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland CRAFTed initiative.  We drew inspiration from repeating patterns in nature to create a spiral wall sculpture.
  • In 2010, I was commissioned for a Collaborative Public Art Project with St. Patrick’s National School, Dublin 15.  Working in collaboration with the three fourth-class groups, we created two large-scale 3-D sculptures and the children’s footprints in clay – the finished pieces were installed in the school grounds.
  • Throughout 2009, I was working on a large-scale Collaborative Public Art Commission with St. Peter’s National School, Phibsborough, Dublin.  This project, funded by the Per Cent for Art Scheme, celebrated the opening of their new school building and had a strong collaborative element between myself and the whole school community.  We took the handprints in clay and slip of all pupils, teachers and staff and created a series of three large-scale ceramic wall murals.
  • In 2006, I facilitated a Collaborative Art Project for St. Patrick’s National School, Dublin to commemorate the opening of their new school.  The piece, which was entitled When the hand was lifted from the clay, comprised of the handprints of almost 450 participants and was installed in the foyer of the new school building.

I am especially inspired when working on site-specific outdoor projects that allow me to respond to a particular environment or place…

– Michelle Maher

Select Exhibitions / Commissions

  • Sculpture at the Castle 2018, Blarney Castle, Co. Cork. June-October 2018.
  • Ceramics Ireland 2018 at Printworks, Dublin Castle, Dublin. July 2018.
  • Sculpture in Context 2018, 120°  at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. September –  October 2018.
  • Selected Members Exhibition 2018 of Ceramics Ireland at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin (October 2018).

Membership

  • Professional member since 2004
  • Member since 2004
  • Registered Craftsperson since 2004
  • Member of the Education Panel since 2010
  • Registered Teacher since 2015

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