Colm de Ris of Colm de Ris Pottery creates handmade pieces with what he describes as a “modern Celtic feel.” We sat down with him for a chat to learn more about his passion and the process of creation.
Creative Irish Gifts: When did you start creating pottery?
Colm de Ris: As a 10-year-old, I was really lucky that I got sent to Mrs. Carroll’s Pine Forest Art Centre in Dublin, which is the city where I grew up. It was there that I first discovered clay and throwing on the wheel. I discovered I had a passion for it then, and it has stayed with me. I briefly followed a different path and was a catering manager on the QE2 ocean liner for a while before making my way back to pottery and training with some of the country’s top potters. From there, I started my own business, Colm de Ris Pottery, in 1997. We are currently based in Dublin.
Tell us a bit about your role in the company.
Colm de Ris: I am the director of the company and am the primary maker. I personally decorate every piece so no two can be the same, thus making every piece an original.
What types of pieces do you create?
Colm de Ris: I like for all of my pieces to be practical—having both function and beauty. I create everything from mugs and bowls to serving platters, candle pillars, oil decanters, and teapots.
We’ve noticed a theme of blue and green in your work. Tell us about this.
Colm de Ris: Yes, I do like the cool colors of that palette. The sweeping shapes and cold colors were inspired by the wild coastal landscape of the south and west of Ireland. My work is also influenced by the legends and symbols of Celtic and old Irish mythology.
What do you love about working with ceramics?
Colm de Ris: Clay, flame, and glazes have been my canvases. It’s always been exciting for me to create dynamic, fluid shapes to enhance and complement those energies while fusing them together in the kiln.
I also love the unpredictability and never knowing the outcome of the work you are doing today. There’s a magical type of alchemy that the raw clay goes through at the beginning of the process from throwing it on a wheel, letting it dry properly, firing it, decorating it, and firing it again. Every week having that experience of coming in to open the kiln door—it feels like Christmas morning—cause you just never know what’s going to be inside. Sometimes it’s amazing, and sometimes it’s quite painful. But, it’s always, always exciting.
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