Claire Finlay

Claire feels deeply that everything is interconnected, so with her work a leaf could just as easily be a fish, and she likes this visual versatility. As she explains; "It’s what the shamans call shape-shifting. And when I see a cormorant taking flight, a hare jumping tentatively through dewy grass, or the ripples on the water as the first salmon heads upstream to spawn - my mind is already lost in my studio, my hands bringing it to life in the clay."

Claire was born in Dublin and trained as a ceramic restorer, working in London, Paris and Istanbul, on top quality Chinese and Islamic pieces. She then decided to shift direction to create her own pieces in her studio in Ireland. Her work is both sculptural and functional, both of which are inspired by the surrounding mountains, and the river filled with salmon which she sees from her studio every day. Fish and birds are of particular relevance to her work since they inhabit a world excluded to humans. With this new collection of work, Claire is incorporating hints to climate change. For instance, her piece ‘Netted’, explores the difference between fish swimming free and fish ensnared in a net at the bottom of the bowl. This piece comments on the cruelty of the fishing industry, as well as nodding to the vast amount of fishing waste littering the ocean floor. She creates her pieces using stoneware clay and traditional coil or slab techniques. Oxides and matte glazes are added and the work fired at 1260 degrees to create her unique pieces. She insists the bowls and dishes can be used and even placed in the oven - they are functional objects. Claire has received several awards in Ireland and the UK, including the Fitzgerald Award for innovation and unique design. Her work has been exhibited all over the UK and Ireland including the Hallward Gallery in Dublin, Lavelle Art Gallery in Galway and Morley Gallery in London. She lives and works on the West coast of Ireland. Claire has been included in three editions of John Goode’s ‘Irish Ceramics’ books, the most recent of which was published this year.
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