Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

ORLA O’REGAN: Visual artist & owner of Orla O Visual Art

What’s your background?

I studied art as a mature student, doing a part-time course at night in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD).

I was working in programme management on construction projects in Dublin Airport during the day. This was a very technical role, and I always envisioned that I would create a career in art for myself, so I invested my spare time in gaining a Certificate and Diploma in Design from NCAD.

The biggest turning point in my career happened in 2015 after I had my little boy, Jonah. I suffered from post-natal depression and this led me to turn my world upside down.

I decided not to return to the construction industry, and for two years, when Jonah was very little, I focused my energies on my art, creating the life I was always leaning towards, but never had the opportunity to grasp. I am so proud to say that through the darkness came the light!

What’s a typical workday like for you?

Some days I am just making in the studio, creating Words in Porcelain from raw clay and preparing it for firing in the kiln. Other days are spent framing, packaging, posting and admin days. My work is mainly bespoke, ensuring that what I’m at is never mundane.

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

Tell us about a favourite project or design?

My love of words has led me to create an evocative and emotive range of framed ceramic art pieces entitled Words in Porcelain.

From poetry to lyrics and anything in between, I create pieces that will mean the world to the recipient.

What’s your design style?

I would describe my art as minimalist and raw. Porcelain is my ceramic of choice, which has traditionally been perceived as pristine, smooth and glazed. My art, however, defies this traditional observation, whereby a rugged porcelain landscape is the canvas for each work of art. I view it as “perfection within imperfection”.

What inspires your work?

My passion for words is evident in my work, and when I create one-off pieces, I choose inspiring words that mean something to me, but will also resonate with people.

I love when clients come to me with words for their bespoke commissions.

Each piece tells a very personal story.

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

From wedding vows, to secret words between loved ones, what I create is very personal, and it’s simply wonderful to be part of a process where you get to see how thoughtful people really are.

What’s your favourite trend?

There has most definitely been a move towards a want for artisanal creations from local artists.

I am part of the artists collective, Cork Craft and Design, and it’s so lovely to speak to customers who are coming specifically to the shop in Douglas, Cork, to buy a piece of local art.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I’m not a very materialistic person, but what I do treasure is the way my life has turned about in recent years.

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

It’s not been a very easy journey, but one which has resulted in me being exactly where I want to be.

I am healthy, I have a wonderful happy little four-year-old boy, I’m engaged to an amazingly supportive man, Bjorn, and have the most amazing parents who have been so helpful and understanding of my life-changing journey to date.

Who is your favourite designer?

I adore the delicate and intricate works of two Irish ceramicists, Nuala O’Donovan and Isobel Egan. They create very delicate, but very different, porcelain sculptures.

Isobel creates fine porcelain box structures, which are minuscule environments that explore issues of fragility, personal space and memory.

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

Nuala creates intricate porcelain sculptures, which are inspired by nature and the irregularities that manifest themselves in everything, from shells to flowers.

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

I love what I am creating just now, but I would love to, one day, create my own sculptural pieces.

Have you any design tips?

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

My Words in Porcelain are a minimalist design, one which is not overstated or in your face. I believe in simplicity. In the words of Bruce Lee: “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

- For more information visit: www.orlaovisual.ie; www.instagram.com/orlaovisualart; and www.facebook.com/orlaovisualart

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