25 July 2019

The Irish Odyssey - Part Two

After leaving Waterford we skipped over to Cork to meet up with family friends for a few days.
I love the way the old buildings are still well used - for example the Jameson Whisky Distillery just outside Cork is housed in this distinguished building and includes tours (not this time for us) and a shop and cafe.

Our next studio visit took us to the small village of Shanagarry to visit with Ron Barrett who trades under both Shanagarry Potters and also Stephen Pearce Pottery.  On Facebook look for Ronald Barrett Pottery  (click names for links)

Ron took over running the pottery and has kept the Stephen Pearce range while also developing his own, a very wise marketing move I would think. It keeps his past customers happy while bringing new customers to his own range.

Here is Ron making a vase on the wheel. It was so good of him to take time out from his working day to show us around.

I think every ceramics/pottery student should visit a working production pottery early in their training.  To see what is possible and to understand the process from the dug clay to the finished beautifully transformed pottery is inspiring.
Freshly thrown ware boards stacked on a trolley

Trimmed and drying wares, the next stage
Ron undertakes the most of the process himself, though he does have a few part-time colleagues who help in different areas when required...."it's small team effort too.
One of those is a man called Paddy Fitzpatrick who has been making pots for 60 years now...yes 60 years...amazing!!"
*quote from Ron

 The work involved ranges from digging up the clay from a nearby creek bed, removing debris such as rocks, soaking it to make it malleable, and then putting it through the press filter and pug mill.  The clay is then stored for a few months before use.

1. the raw clay is brought in for the start of the process
2. soaked and readied for debris to be removed 

3. the slurry goes through a series of sieves

4. rack of press filters to bring clay back from being slurry to a workable clay

5. pug mill used to prepare clay for use
6. storage of pugged clay

bisque ware waiting for glazing

the glazing stage

Ron has made his own glaze tongs to use on plates - brilliant!
a close up of the plate glazing tongs

a whole room of kilns ready to be packed

There is a wonderful showroom setup with dining settings displayed and shelves of all types of pottery from plates, mugs, bowls and even table lamps.

If you go at the right time there is a cafe too.  It wasn't open the day we went but the menu looked inviting.

I purchased a bowl as a gift for my Irish based family and my husband purchased a Stephen Pearce cup that he liked.

Ron and I did a swap too so I now have one of his little Irish Wolfhound dishes at home.

Thanks so much Ron for your generosity and a fabulous studio/workshop tour.

There was so much to share I have made this post just about this visit.  Watch this space for more on my travels in Ireland.


Elephant's Child said...

Am I right in thinking that your luggage was mostly pottery by the time you came home? Lots of beauty and some precious memories.

Anna said...

Hi EC well I can confess to leaving a few things behind in Ireland that I might have brought home if pottery wasn't filling my carry-on luggage :>)

Dianne said...

Great blog Anna.

Anna said...

Thanks Di glad you enjoyed it... a couple more posts still to come