In order to work more freely, ceramic artist Ed Walshe decided to move out of the big smoke in order to create more smoke.
“At that time I was living in Dublin and I rather like doing smoke-fired ceramics and it’s really difficult to do that up in the city because it really annoys your neighbours if you have smoke all over the place.
“Anyway, I wanted a place where I could have a studio, so I bought a house down here, just outside Longford (Killoe). There’s a double garage which I converted to a studio. I generally make ceramics and sell them at Christmas fairs and the like.
“I did a show in Backstage Theatre, which Fergus (Kennedy – Arts Officer) organised for me. At the moment I’m working on a commission for a ceramic wall mural,” said Ed.
The 3ft x 2ft mural will be mounted on plywood, which can be hung on a wall.
Retired at 55, Ed enrolled in a four-year course at the NCAD (National College of Art and Design) in Dublin and graduated in 2006 in ceramics. Having spent 35 years working with IBM as a programme and IT specialist. His interest in ceramics grew from the time he spent in the NCAD.
“I always had an interest in art and I went to evening classes in NCAD for about 11 years while I was working. In the first year of the four-year course you do a bit of everything – sculpture, print-making, ceramics, glass, metals, everything. The idea is that you get to experience the whole range of techniques and then you decide what you want to graduate in”.
“I had originally thought I wanted to do sculpture, but then had a go at ceramics, which I thought was cool because I could have my own studio and just work away myself. If you’re doing sculpture, you have to cast bronze, and you have to pay loads of money to foundries to cast them for you,” he quipped.
Ed says he has been doing quite a bit of raku firing at the moment, it is an ancient and delicate ceramic production process
“You do it outdoors in a special kiln, and you bring this material up to about 1,000 degrees and bring it out and put it into a bin that’s filled with sawdust or straw, or anything that will burn. You usually end up with white glaze, but it’s all crackled with these little black lines in it”.
“One thing about it is that it’s very unpredictable; pieces might not come out correct or quite often pieces will break. It’s handy for somebody working in ceramics like me because the commercial firms aren’t interested in it because it’s unpredictable. It means that I can compete. There’s no point in making mugs because I can’t make them for €1 like you’d pay in Tesco,” said Ed.
Although he doesn’t currently have a website, Ed does have samples of his work on the Crafts Council of Ireland website: http://directory.ccoi.ie/clients/member/21762