Rosemarie Durr Pottery
by Claire O'Regan
Rosemarie Durr creates beautiful hand thrown pottery with a distinctive powder blue glaze that is becoming a feature in many Irish homes and kitchens. She has trained with the Crafts Council of Ireland and has for many years worked as a production potter for some of Ireland's biggest pottery studios. Her studio is in the Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny where she works with her husband Andrew Ludick who also creates his own ceramic range.
We were lucky enough to get an interview with the lovely Rosemarie and in this article she invites us into the life and world of a thriving and successful pottery maker.
You have a beautiful style. Is your style something you worked hard to create or did it just happen naturally?
A little bit of both. I studied graphic design in college many moons ago, so I have always been very aware of design and the importance of function.
I also love beautiful things and have a weak spot for vintage china ware so I guess it's a combination of all these things make up my style.
What has been the highlight of you career so far and why?
That's a difficult one to answer. The fact that people buy my pots and use them every day is a great complement and I am always chuffed when someone tells me that they drink out my cups every morning. It's also great to see my pots being used by chefs like on the recent Neven Maguire series on RTE also great foodies like John and Sally McKenna have been very supportive over the years and I continue to design and make awards in conjunction with the Bridgestone Guide and Electric Picnic.
Being self-employed is the dream for any creative. However, how do you keep on track of your workload and avoid procrastinating?
I am pretty disciplined most of the time but running a business can often mean that days get filled with all kinds of stuff that do not include making pots and this can be a struggle because what I enjoy doing most is making pots.
What do you love/hate most about being in your profession?
It's hugely fulfilling making tableware that becomes part of people's homes and everyday life. The worst feeling is opening a kiln after there has been some sort of firing problem, weeks of hard work can be destroyed in one firing, and thankfully this is not very often.
What tools do you use?
Like most potters I am guilty of buying the latest fancy tools but end up using the same old 2 or 3 tools that I have been using for years and 2 of those are ones I made myself.
Do you feel your style will keep evolving?
I certainly hope so. As long as I continue to love what I'm doing I think things will keep evolving organically.
Is there anything you have not done yet that you would like to try your hand at in the future?
There is nothing that comes to mind but there are things which I love doing like cooking and gardening, which I would love to become better at over time.
What do you like to listen to while you're working?
I love to listen to BBC Radio 4 but the reception can be hit and miss sometimes in my workshop. Because I work with my hubby who is also a musician he usually has jazz or old timey music playing.
You have your shop in the Castlecomer Estate Yard surrounded by many other creative people and also the beautiful Castlecomer Discovery Park! Do these things inspire you and your work?
I am very privileged to work in such lovely surroundings and even more importantly to have so many creative friends around me. There is always someone to bounce ideas off or talk through problems with. A walk in the woods can be enough to clear the mind and feed the soul, especially now with all the blue bells in bloom it's very beautiful.
Are there any other creative people that you admire or look to for inspiration?
I would have to say my husband, Andrew Ludick. We share a studio but work very differently. I'm a production thrower which means I make as many pots as I can in a day where as Andy pinches each pot out of clay and decorates every one individually. It's a much slower process and each piece is a unique work of art. I'm always amazed at the wonderful designs he comes up with.
What are you working on at the moment?
Very little that does not involve my 3 month old son. I'm on maternity leave right now but getting a little work in now and again. I'm working on (mainly in my head) some new pieces for a summer exhibition with MADE in Kilkenny as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival. It's a great opportunity for me to come up with completely new work.
Is there any advice you'd give to designers or artists who are starting out?
As a designer maker, what have been essential for me are skills. I was lucky when I graduated there were still some large production pottery's in Ireland where I gained very valuable skills and experience. It is not so easy now as a lot of these large industries are gone. I think that anyone can attend some great business/marketing courses which are available from enterprise boards but what will make the difference is your skill level.
You can see more of Rosemarie and Andrew's wonderful work here