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What are your interests?

Realist?

Realist

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

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Clay Artist

Clay Artist

Sara Flynn

How did you become interested in your career?

I did a foundation course in Cork in 1988 with the intention of going on to study Painting. One of the materials we were able to experiment on the course was Clay - I loved it immediately and my direction changed.

I studied Ceramics in the Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork from 1989 - 1992 (Diploma), and then for my Degree (1997 - 1998).

Following my Degree I had utter focus and intention to make a career through working with clay.

(In between my Diploma and Degree I lived in London and worked in Harrods Department store (1994 - 1997) where I completed a Business Management Course.)

What has your career looked like so far?

There have been some key junctions in my career.

  1. Coming back as a mature student with some business understanding helped my focus about setting up my first studio in Kinsale, Co. Cork. in 1999.
  2. Realising I needed a larger and private space, I moved and set up my second studio in West Cork in 2005. This move co-incided with a crucial change-of-direction in my work; shifting from making functional ware to Sculptural Vessels.
  3. In turn, the change of what I was making meant a change in commercial needs; I understood that I needed to sell my work to an International Market.This was made possible by participation in the following critical events…

- Origin Craft Fair (London) and Ceramic Art London (Self-funded - Each year for 3 connective years)

- In 2006 The Crafts Council of Ireland established ‘Portfolio’, a critical selection of makers, which set a bar to aim for in the hope of being accepted. Once accepted, makers could be considered for participation in the following…

- 'SOFA’ (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art), Chicago, U.S.A. &    ‘COLLECT’, London, U.K.

- I was chosen to participate in both events for 2 consecutive years each. These events proved pivotal to my career.

4. in 2010 at ‘Collect’ London, my work was seen by a wonderful London Gallery who now represent me today and with whom I have a crucially supportive relationship. (Erskine Hall & Coe). I have a solo exhibition with them every 2- 3 years.

My work continues to develop.

Day in the Life: Describe your typical working day.

When I am in the middle of a making-period I begin in the studio at 9am and finish at 5pm. I postpone any admin and e-mail work for when I am home in the evenings; and usually turn my brain off by 7:30pm.

My working-day changes depending on the cycle of making each day & week. It can be a day of single-focus activity (altering & refining) or multiple-activity (throwing, glazing, starting and finishing) which tends to be the case the majority of the time.

I am dictated by the clay most of the time - when the material is ready I need to work with it, rather than the other way around.

If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be?

I’ve taken the liberty to answer this twice…two pieces of advice - both really important. 

1.Pay a professional photographer for good photography from the start. It is not a question about whether or not you can afford it - it is a statement that you can’t afford NOT to do it.

2.Recognise* when you are given good advice and, even when it stings - take it.

(*This is the real challenge. Advice from experienced, trusted people rather than everything everyone throws at you!).


Design & Crafts Council of Ireland