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Damian keefe

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Artwork for Damian keefe

Saltglazed jug with ash glazed shoulder


01981 590352
How would you describe the work you do and why?: 

I make domestic stoneware pottery. I aim to make things of beauty and utility to enrich our experience of day-to-day life. If you have beautiful crockery even washing-up can be pleasurable. I particularly enjoy making drinking vessels as the relationship between the pot and the drinker is so intimate. Almost everyone I know has a favourite mug which they use every day and sometimes its one of mine. I make mugs in a range of shapes and a range of glazes hoping that there is something to suit everyone's taste.

My background as a biologist has imbued me with a love of all things natural and I try to let the natural origins of the materials I use show through in my work. I also try to incorporate as many self-collected materials as possible. Nature’s beauty involves elements of randomness and asymmetry and I accept these characteristics in the things I make, not attempting to achieve the precision of an engineered artefact but the wholesomeness of a natural product.

For you what does being an artist mean?: 

Being an artist in clay gives me purpose and joy and endless intellectual interest and the satisfaction of giving others pleasure in the form of objects they like and can use in their daily lives.

Describe what you call yourself/your practice?: 

Damian Keefe Pottery

Your practice & activities include e.g workshops, teaching: 

I have contributed to the setting up of the CUP community ceramics studio in Hereford ( where I currently do a limited amount of teaching, some glaze recipe development, provide ceramic advice to the management and members and build specialist studio furniture.

CV & Education, relevant & leading to your artistic practice: 

I did all the sciences and maths at O-level and further chemistry, biology and maths at A-level. This gave me the background to be able to understand the technicalities of ceramic firing and glaze formulation. At university, where I first studied for a degree, and then did a PhD in, biology I learned the techniques of technical research, skills that are also applicable to solving ceramic problems and formulating or modifying glaze recipes. I specialised in Botany and that subject currently provides the inspiration for most of the designs I use on my pots.

While doing my PhD I did a weekly evening class in Pottery which I had never had any acquaintance with before. I was hooked. The two evening class teachers lived a long way from the studio where the classes were taught so it was a chore for them to fire the kiln. I lived minutes away so volunteered to do the firings, and was taught how to pack and operate a kiln. I had a lot of spare time in the summer when the university was on holiday so I also volunteered to recycle the scrap clay, not only learning another skill but also gaining access to the studio full time. I practised throwing every day for several weeks. "Practice makes perfect" they say, but, 40 years later, I am still practising.

Exhibitions in the last 3 years: 

FOUND Gallery, Brecon. 21/10/2020 -28/02/2021
CUP Ceramics September Exhibition 2021
H.Art 2021
CUP Ceramics Christmas Market 2021
CUP Ceramics Christmas Market 2022
H.Art 2022
CUP Ceramics Christmas Market 2023
H.Art 2023

Your gallery outlets/stockists: 

CUP Ceramics, Unit 10, Foley Trading Estate, Hereford HR1 2SF

The Courtyard Craft Shop , The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 9JR.

My own gallery at home. Open by request on 01981 590352.

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