How to Define Irish Pottery or Irish Handmade Pottery?

Amanda Coen

Irish Pottery?

The discussion rages on and gets more and more interesting the longer it goes on. 'What makes Irish pottery, for example, Irish pottery mugs, Irish?'

We are fast becoming such a culturally diverse population that is quickly becoming the quintessential 'melting pot'. The concept of Irishness is literally developing as we speak. Many different nationalities live and work here and identify with their own nationalities and cultures and become part of Irish society aswell. It is in the classification of creative work where I find it most interesting and challenging as it leads to the question 'What makes a creation Irish or indeed something else?'. I am beginning to think that a piece of Irish Pottery is a piece of work carried out in Ireland. Full stop. It really is only a catagorisation and the line is a little fuzzy as people do not fit into mathematical equations.

Monika Kurilla for example who is the creative Pottery artist featured in this blog post, trained in her native Hungary but has lived here and raised her family here for a number of years. She creates among other great things, Irish pottery mugs that are tactile and vibrant. I call them Irish as they were created here and Ireland influences Monika's work. She finds solace in nature, on the beach and in the trees here. The beauty of Ireland gets her creativity flowing and she expresses it through her pottery. Irish pottery makers are a diverse bunch much like the rest of us. Irish handmade pottery has so many branches and sources that it becomes truly an arbitrary concept. Irishness. Again, much like ourselves.

In my experience, this is no bad thing. It is through the observation and acceptance of reality that we can move peacefully through the changes that life brings. By denying the reality that is before your eyes, you will not change it but you will make yourself miserable and everyone around you by willing things to stay the same by hanging on to the past with the vain belief/understanding that what is passed was all good and what is to come or what is new is all bad or wrong. Toddlers hang on to parents and are afraid when things change a little as they grow and learn and life grows beyond the cradle. They learn to trust life, Trust others and most of all trust themselves to negotiate life's trials big and small. Similarly as adults we don't need to hold on to to our toddler mentality and attempt to keep everything the same. It is with this understanding that I see the world moving and changing like colours in a painting. The combinations are endless. Creativity is endless and the line is fuzzy and that is great.

The subject of Irish pottery designers or Irish handmade pottery is truly an interesting and vast one.

Monika Kurilla

Creator of Kurilla Pottery - Made In Ireland

 A Passionate And Inspirational Potter from Hungary

I have the pleasure of knowing Monika Kurilla a little. She has a passion for pottery. On meeting her however, you would realise very soon that her family is foremost on her mind. She is diligent and passionate when it comes to pottery too. I find her resilience and mindset when it comes to creativity inspirational and comforting. She creates in her home studio in Newport, Co Mayo. This could give it the Irish pottery stamp though she is Hungarian through and through. There are so many people creating beautiful crafts including pottery in Ireland who are from various other places, but it all comes under Irish craft and Irish pottery because of the influence and impact of surroundings on inspiration and creativity.

'Dear Everyone,

My real name is Monika Kurilla. My business name is 'Kurilla Pottery' as I am proud of my family name. I have a big family in Hungary. We miss each other a lot and so using my family name makes me feel a little closer to them.'



Pottery Has Always Remained A Part Of My Life

During the last 20 years, I have been through a lot of changes and ups and downs. Pottery has always remained part of my life. I love clay. The possibilities are endless with pottery. You shape it in the way you think. Your opportunities for creativity are limitless. Well, perhaps the only limits are the amount of clay and the size of the pottery kiln. My dream if to someday open a place where anyone can come and try claying freely!




I Learned From A Master In Hungary

Pottery has been in my life since 1997. I completed my studies in the year 2000. I feel lucky as I was able to study at very reputable school.

I was taught by, Sandor Solyom, a master in his profession. I studied all aspects of my profession during this time. From throwing clay to firing it.


 Check Out Her YouTube channel here!  KURILLA POTTERY on YouTube

Our Questions Answered...

Check Out Her YouTube channel here! KURILLA POTTERY on YouTube

1) What aspects of creativity do you focus on in your business? Art, Knitting, Pottery etc.. Answer: My art is limited to pottery.

2) Why do you like this form of work and why do you choose it/them over other forms of expression? Answer: I wanted to learn a profession in which I could express myself. Then came the opportunity to learn to be a potter. The most beautiful period of my life was the three years I studied the profession.

3) Who are your 3 favourite painters/artists/photographers/craftworkers etc? Answer: First of all, Sandor Solyom, the master potter I mentioned earlier and from whom I learned my trade. Second, Roger Harley Ceramics who makes beautiful Irish handmade pottery. I really like his style. I think he is a very talented artist and a wonderful Irish pottery designer. Thirdly, is Jon The Potter. he is from Minnesota, in the USA. He has a youtube channel i love watching.

4)Where is the best place in Ireland to have a picnic? Answer: Letterkeen Loop Trail Head, Srahreragh, Co. Mayo. This is a wonderful place. I can recommend it to everyone.

5)If you had visitors staying with you from another place, which places would you bring them in order to show off the beauty of Ireland? Answer: I could take them anywhere because Ireland is beautiful as a whole. Maybe I'd start with Achill Island.

"I Visit The Nearest Beach And Just Sit On A Rock And I Meditate.."

6) Is there a special place in Ireland or somewhere else that inspires or influences your creative work? Answer:When I have time, I visit the nearest beach and just sit on a rock and I meditate. The sound of the sea helps me a lot. Then, I feel blessed, inspired.

7) Do you work from home or do you have another place to work? A shed, artists studio, workshop, chair by the fire, kitchen table etc.. Answer: I have a small workshop at my home. If I have time for creative work around my family life, I always work. I love creation. That's when time stops and there's nothing but myself alone. I love my job.

8) Do you play music, listen to the radio etc or do you like the peace and quiet while you are working? Answer: Yes, I really like music. I always listen to music that suits my mood. I always listen to music when I work.

9) Do you ever work in company such as with friends or family or do you need to be alone? Answer: I work alone but sometimes my daughter helps me. She has a very creative vision.

10) What styles of music do you like? Answer: I don't have a favourite band. I listen to everything.

Check Out Her YouTube channel here!  KURILLA POTTERY on YouTube

"Guinea Pigs Bless Us  Every Day  ;-)"

11) Do you have a pet? Answer: I don't have  pet. My son and daughter have guinea pigs. Guinea pigs bless us every day. ;-)

12) What other things inspire your work? Answer: My work is influenced by emotions, thoughts, nature and I always strive for uniqueness.

13) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to be in a creative business? Answer: Creativity has been a part of my life since childhood. The business element is harder going for me. I am learning every day. Everything in life adds a new learning curve for me.

"We Are All Creative."

14) Do you think creativity runs in the family? Answer: My husband is a photographer. My daughter paints very well and my son sculpts beautifully. My parents, brothers and sisters all practice some form of creativity in their respective work. In my opinion, every single person is creative somehow. We are all creative.

15) Do you work creatively at set times or when the opportunity arises? Answer: I wish I always had time to get creative! I am a mother first and everything else comes after that. That is why I celebrate every minute I can spend with myself.

16) What would you do if you could not show your present form of creativity/expression? Answer: I would continue creating for my own pleasure. Just like I did in Hungary before I came to Ireland when I worked as a nurse in a nursing home. I created in my spare time at home. The act of creation is the important thing. Sharing it with others is an extra added pleasure.

'The Victory Is Being Able To Develop My Work'

17) What is the best thing that ever happened in your business? Answer: I don't know. The victory is being able to develop my work and my business day by day.

18) What is it about the creative process that draws you to pursue it? Answer: I think I do it for the joy of creation. All of my work is born from my thoughts. The child of art. Artists create from their souls. For those who are emotionally involved in creativity, no matter what is happening in their lives, they will always want to create. This cannot be stopped.


 Check Out Her YouTube channel here!  KURILLA POTTERY on YouTube

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