An Interview with Ruth Power of Danu Ceramics
- 01 Nov 2017
- Read Time: 6 mins
How would you describe the style of your products?
Organic and elegant items that display well in both rustic and urban settings. I believe that objects created from clay should retain a natural quality with evidence of being made by human hands. I find perfection sterile and am a strong advocate of the "wabi sabi" design philosophy.
What is your background in ceramics?
I graduated from NCAD in 2011. Back then I made one-off, highly detailed sculptures which reflected my political beliefs. After some time I realised it was very difficult to make a full-time living from sculpture. Something drew me towards creating a product, starting my own business and working for myself.
In 2013 I embarked on a business course with the Ignite Academy and began the transition from artist to designer and businessperson and in 2015 I launched DANU Ceramics.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My tagline is “Made in Ireland, inspired by a journey”. Much of my work is inspired by my travels and I’ve ranges inspired by visits to India, France, Indonesia and Turkey.
My gold decal work using ferns, insects and feathers is informed by the Victorian naturalist, explorer and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace who contributed enormously to the theory of evolution. He did thousands of drawing of different insects and other specimens.
When I hold a handmade object in my hand I can almost feel its pulse
What have been the most positive turning points for your career so far?
Being accepted into Design Island with the DCCoI at Showcase in 2015. This jump-started my business and I became a full-time designer-maker. I developed relationships with large Irish department stores, small independent shops, museums and international retailers.
Joining Instagram two years ago has had a major impact on my business. I have an active following of over 15,000 people. This has exposed me to retailers at home and abroad, stylists and photographers, bloggers and magazines.
What is your favourite piece of work at the moment?
My favourite pieces right now are the teal and gold bowls and planters. The teal glaze is rich and deep and works wonderfully with the gold lustre. I love combining the teal colour with grey, white and gold.
I believe that objects created from clay should retain a natural quality with evidence of being made by human hands
Why do you love about doing what you do?
I cannot imagine not working for myself now. I’m quite nocturnal so a non-rigid schedule works better for me. I love the flexibility of being able to travel but then make up for it by working weekends.
I love working with my hands whilst listening to music or podcasts and love that what I do is ethical and non-exploitative — adding to the economy in a sustainable and cultural way.
I find perfection sterile and am a strong advocate of the "wabi sabi" design philosophy
If budget and time were no obstacle, what would you create?
In the past I made large, highly-detailed porcelain sculptures inspired by Japanese pop-culture, sexuality and feminism. This is something I would continue with.
I would love to do a residency in Far-East Asia, where ceramic art and especially porcelain works are revered — to pick up techniques that have been used for millennia and to work on a different continent.