Áine McKenna Ceramics
Áine McKenna is a ceramic designer/maker. Currently Artist in Residence at Down Art Centre Downpatrick, Co.Down. She works in porcelain and bone china creating illustrated ceramics for Gift and Home.
Áine McKenna is a ceramic designer/maker, based in Co.Down, Northern Ireland. Specialising in illustrated ceramics Áine makes contemporary, decorative giftware and luxury items for the home.
During her degree in Fine and Applied art at University if Ulster Áine began experimenting with porcelain paper clay.
“As a ceramicist I have always been drawn to the whiteness of porcelain and prefer it to any other clay body. Its delicacy and beauty make porcelain an extremely elegant clay, but not always easy to hand build with.”
Although a difficult clay to work with she was not put off by the challenge and used this time to develop her skills in hand-building, making delicate sculptural pieces with great emphasis on conceptualism and form as opposed to function.
She went on to do a Masters in Ceramic Design at Staffordshire University in the heart of the potteries, Stoke on Trent, which was worlds apart from the style of work she was used to.
Learning industrial techniques and processes Aine trained in design for manufacture and what was once something she may have turned her nose up at as an art student, was now her passion, working to specific briefs and creating various designs intended for mass production and loving every minute.
During this time she had the unique opportunity to do an industrial placement with leading tableware manufacturer Dudson Ltd. and so began her love for surface pattern design.
After graduation she went on to work as for Royal Stafford/Poole Pottery as a surface pattern designer. Utilising her skills as a fine artist she was able to create collections depicting hand painted elements and her illustrations on tableware. Having a strong affiliation with the pottery industry, she is still influenced by industrial techniques such as the use of ceramic decals.
Her current work is a hybrid of both her time as a fine artist and an industry designer, a fusion between handmade and manufacture. Each piece is fired 3-4 times: bisque, glaze is applied then hand decorated with decal application printed from watercolour and pen & ink drawings and finally finished with hints of gold lustre using watercolour and pen and ink illustrations.
“ Its significant for me as a designer/maker for my background in both to be evident in my work. Stoke-on-Trent is part of my narrative and it is also important for me to support the industry from which I came”.
Áine has been support by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Newry,Down and Mourne Council. She is the current Artist in Residence at Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick.
Down Arts Centre
2-6 Irish Street,
Monday – Friday
Down Arts Centre