Maria started to work with clay in secondary school in Glasgow. She immediately loved this material for a number of reasons: “There is a tactile dimension. I immediately felt a connection with it and I love that ceramics is tridimensional art”, she explains.
Maria, who graduated from the Limerick School of Art & Design in 1987, has been makings ceramic art since 1993. Her work is deeply influenced by the landscape, the colours and forms of Co. Donegal, where she lives.
I met Maria to talk about her future participation in Earth and Fire International Ceramics Fair. This fair, which will take place on 23-25 June in Nottinghamshire, is one of UK’s premier ceramic events. It was established 20 years ago and, since then, has been attracting selected potters from across the UK and mainland Europe who sell directly to the public from outdoor market stalls. The event attracts collectors, gallery owners, enthusiasts and the general public.
“It is a one-stop shop for people who are really interested in ceramics and want to discover new names and trends”, says Maria. “You need really good promotional material to showcase your work”, she continues, “and this is why I have been investing in having good images taken and a new brochure designed”.
Maria is delighted to participate in this event, which she sees as a true opportunity to showcase and sell her work to a type of market that is not strictly commercial: “When I think about growing my business, I think about producing work that does not compromise my vision, work with a strong signature”.
Making ceramic art and, at the same time, making a living out of it is not always easy. When I asked Maria what she thinks are the main skills to succeed, she agreed that craftsmanship and creativity are not enough: “You need confidence and awareness of both trends and possible markets. You need to know what is relevant, what is selling now. But you also need to be connected”. And events such as Earth and Fire can be brilliant platforms to make and nurture connections.
“Working in a studio can isolate you. Even if you work in a city, you can be isolated but I guess that, when you work in a rural area, you can miss important opportunities”. Of course, working far from the hustle and bustle of cities can provide artists with strong benefits: “It’s peaceful, there are no distractions and this can be rewarding”, Maria reminds me.
When it comes to growing a creative business in rural surroundings, it is clear that determination plays an important role: “There are many showcase events in the UK. If you want to promote and sell your work, select a couple of them, apply for a place and, if you do not get it, keep applying”. And if you would like to participate in Earth & Fire but are not selected, “don’t give up” urges Maria. I am really looking forward to watching Maria’s determination take her enterprise far.
Check out Maria’s Profile on this website!