looks at the world of art and interiors
A CONVERSATION with Cork artist Rose Mulcahy made me think about parents who are keen to prise their children’s eager eyes from screens of all kinds. That particular debate is not new, of course — even in my own childhood, despite the pretty slim pickings to pique our interest on all of two terrestrial channels, adults everywhere debated the perils of what in our house was referred to “television during daylight hours”.
But Rose, whose sweeping, ocean-inspired canvases are currently making waves in the art world, believes minimal time spent in front of the small screen as a youngster is what, in part, drove her passion for painting when she was growing up in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. “I suppose I have always had a love of art — my mother Breda Mulcahy was a huge inspiration — as young kids she painted with us and taught us how to work on different techniques and designs, this was the norm and we rarely watched television,” she says.
Rose works in media by day, for radio station Cork’s 96fm, and devotes herself to her art outside of office hours. “I get lost in my art. I have my studio at the back of the house and I can stay in there until very late at night, the hours flying by without a care in the world, it’s my haven,” says the artist, who also previously worked for the Irish Examiner.
Rose, who is currently exhibiting her paintings in The Hideout Cafe, on Wellington Road, Cork, until November 27, is usually to be found, brush in hand, in Ardnahinch Studios, based by the beach in Shanagarry. “That is my wonderful space for inspiration, nestled between Garryvoe and Ballycotton,” she adds.
You see, Ireland’s windswept shoreline and turbulent seas have always intrigued her. “I lived in Australia for almost 20 years, having gone on an around-the-world backpacking trip with my friend, decided to rally back to Australia where I worked in media — and even though I lived and travelled to the most beautiful countries in the world I always thought of home and the wonderful smell and madness of our oceans and the ever-changing colours of the ocean — particularly the beautiful untouched Ardnahinch beach in Shanagarry which is my favourite spot in the whole world,” says Rose.
Not only do the elements at their wildest inform the subject matter but also the techniques. “My art reflects the colours and movement of the ocean and is a combination of mixed media and pouring techniques totally inspired by nature — I like to call it ‘Google Art’. The aim is always to create a space for the art to be its own creation but simultaneously controlling the outcome,” says the artist.
And the evocative works have ensured Rose is a hit with interiors specialists as well as home and business owners. “I work mainly with interior designers and clients who have large spaces that they like to make the centre of of their design layout in their homes or offices and introducing colour that works with what the client is more drawn to,” she says. “I purposely don’t name any of my paintings as I believe each individual can look at a piece and see something different and that’s what makes it special.”
BREAKING THE MOULD
THIS is the year of the ceramic artist at Gifted Craft and Design Fair Cork with a host of locally-based ceramicists set to break the mould at the event in City Hall Cork, from November 29 to December 1.
Among them is renowned animal and wildlife artist Annabel Langrish who will be showcasing a new range of raku-fired ceramics, exclusive to Gifted Cork.
A self-confessed beach comber, Annabel regularly walks the beaches near her home in Ahakista where she gathers driftwood and inspiration for her work.
Sure to put a smile on visitors’ faces is the work of Dún Óir Crafts, with a beautifully whimsical collection of ceramics handcrafted by Alfred and Connie Leipert.
Childhood sweethearts, the couple first came here 35 years ago from Germany to escape the rat race. Returning many times, they eventually settled in a cottage in Bantry.
Here they create their delightful range of ceramic mugs, jugs, planters, clocks, window ornaments, music boxes and fairytale gnomes.
Quirky and full of gentle fun, the pieces often include animal references and the couple say they are made for “everybody with a sense of humour”.
A French-Irish love match is behind the collaboration of ceramics and fine art that is Ceramifique’s range of homewares and porcelain jewellery.
French artist Jean-Philippe Levillain and Irish artist Jennifer Ahern are the founders of the Over the Line ceramic and fine art studio in Ballyvolane, Co Cork. The studio is now home to 20 artists and it is here the pair create their unique ceramic sculptural ware and porcelain jewellery, all with the signature Ceramifique bubble finish.
Their collection includes everything from oil burners and wall hangings, to candleholders and plates, with Jennifer’s passion for jewellery and indoor plants a particular source of inspiration. Jennifer began making planters for her own plants and now makes them for others.
Her childhood love of earrings has resulted in a fine selection of porcelain and silver earrings paired with necklaces, all with partner Jean Philippe’s signature bubble finish.
People want to support local artists and keep crafts skills for the next generation, according to acclaimed ceramicist Siobhain Steele from Bride Valley, Kildinan, who has helped set up a community arts group centre in the region.
The rivers of the valley inspired her new aqua range of vases and lamps which Siobhain will be showcasing at Gifted Cork, while her much-loved ceramic hearts and ‘message on a bottle’ will also take pride of place at show.
Siobhain shares her talent for ceramics by giving adult classes. “People are going back to handmade and traditional work. There seems to be a new-found appreciation of it. I am one of the founder members of the Blackwater Valley Makers who recently started an art centre in Fermoy and it’s flying,” she said.
Meanwhile Ballymorris-based ceramicist Aoife Slattery, who works primarily with white earthenware clay, uses an unusual printing process to create her unique designs.
“I want to see striking colour palettes with unusual shapes and patterns. I strive to make contemporary ware that has a sense of playfulness but still is a functional object for your home.’ The traditional start to the festive season, Gifted Cork is the ultimate destination for anyone interested in craft, design, unique independent brands and artisan food producers.
This year also sees the launch of Art Source Cork, featuring the best of contemporary Irish artists, which will run alongside Gifted Cork. Gifted Cork also features The Spectacular Christmas Food Emporium with over 25 local artisan food producers, tempting visitors with the best of the season’s fare.
“At Gifted Cork we celebrate Christmas giving with thousands of thoughtful and sustainable gifts for your loved ones,” said organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.