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, 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 interst 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
2016
2013
2013
2012
2012
2008
2008
2004
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

2016
  • Irish Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition– Synergy at The Barony Centre, Craft Town Scotland, February – April 2016.
  • The Open Window Gallery, Rathmines, Dublin (ongoing).
  • Ceramics 2016, Cowshed Gallery, Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin, 25 June – 10 July 2016.
  • Sculpture at the Castle 2016, Blarney Castle, Co. Cork. June-September 2016.
  • Irish Ceramic Awards at the Mill Cove Gallery, Kenmare, Co. Kerry.
  • Sculpture in Context 2016, Synthesis at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. 8th September – 22 October 2016.
  • The Kildare Gallery – Vanishing Art 2016 at Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. 1-31st October 2016.
2015
  • Sculpture in Context 2015, Synergy at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2015, Amélie at The Cowshed Gallery, Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Irish Ceramics exhibition Fauna or Flora? at The Open Window Gallery, Rathmines, Dublin.
2014
  • Vanishing Art 2014 at Carton House, Co. Kildare.
  • Sculpture at the Castle 2014, Surface Tension at Blarney Castle, Co. Cork.
  • Sculpture in Context 2014, Fauna or Flora? at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2014, Fusion II and a number of wall pieces at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • Demonstrator & exhibitor at Art in Action 2014 at Farmleigh House, Dublin.
2013
2012
2011
  • Collaborative Commission for the children’s charity Barnardos.
  • Sculpture in Context 2011, Surface Tension at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • Short-listed for commission for the Office of the President by the OPW in 2011.
  • Design & Crafts Council of Ireland show garden at Bloom 2011, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2011, Rathfarnham Castle Arts, Dublin.
  • Contemporary Sculpture in Irish Gardens 2011, Fusion and The Dahlia: Loud & Proud at Ballintubbert Gardens, Co. Kildare.
2010
  • Design & Crafts Council of Ireland CRAFTed initiative, Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Dublin 15.
  • Pollen Hotspot  and Fusion at Nexus exhibition at The Bluewall Gallery, Co. Cavan.
  • Sculpture in Context 2010, Fusion at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin .
  • Outside: Insight, Sculpture in the Gardens 2010, Coccolithophores at Brigit’s Garden, Roscahill, Co. Galway.
  • Bloom 2010 ‘Grow It Yourself’ Show Garden, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2010, Rathfarnham Castle Arts, Dublin.
  • The Millcove Gallery, Outdoor Sculpture Show, Castletownbere, Co. Cork.
  • Public Art Project 2010, St. Patrick’s National School, Dublin 15.
2009
  • Public Commission 2009, Large-scale Public Art Project, St. Peter’s National School, Phibsborough, Dublin.
  • Sculpture in Context 2009, Whatever floats your boat…Coccolithophores at The National Botanic Gardens.
  • The National Craft Gallery, The Dahlia: Loud and Proud and Pollen Hotspot at Castle Yard, Kilkenny.
  • Outside: Insight, Sculpture in the Gardens 2009, Puffballs: From the inside out and Different Inside at Brigit’s Garden, Roscahill, Co. Galway.
  • National Craft Gallery Garden at Bloom 2009, The Dahlia: Loud and Proud and Pollen Hotspot at the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2009, Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
2008
  • Sculpture in Context 2008, The Dahlia: Loud and Proud at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • The Claremorris Open Exhibition 2008, Pollen Hotspot, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
  • Outside: Insight – Sculpture in the Gardens 2008, Pollen Hotspot, From the Inside Out and The Titan Arum at Brigit’s Garden, Roscahill, Co. Galway.
  • Design & Crafts Council of Ireland Craft Trail at Bloom 2008, Puffballs: From the inside out, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2008, Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
2007
  • Sculpture in Context 2007, Puffballs: From the inside out at The National Botanic Gardens.
  • Craft in Action 2007 at The Kilkenny Shop, Nassau Street, Dublin.
  • Sculpture in Context at Airfield House 2007, Different Inside, Dundrum, Dublin.
  • Sculpture in Context at Bloom 2007, Different Inside at the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Ceramics 2007, Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
2006
2005
  • Sculpture in Context 2005, The Titan Arum: Behind every great man at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • Ordinary Plenty, two-person show at Tipperary Excel Gallery, Tipperary Town.
  • Ceramics 2005, Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
  • Amharc Fhine Gall II – Draiocht, Dublin.
2004
  • Sculpture in Context 2004, The Age of Christ at Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Sculpture in Context 2004, The Age of Christ at The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin.
  • C.E.A.D. Show 2004 at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

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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