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© Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
© All rights reserved
© Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved

Nuala O’Donovan

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist
Contact
English, French
Hours:
By appointment only
Phone:
+353 876413651
© All rights reserved

Finding stories in nature

  • • Nuala initially trained in architectural drawing
  • • She was drawn to the 'immediacy' of ceramics
  • • Her travels have fuelled her interest in natural patterns

Nuala O’Donovan is fascinated by structural patterns in nature, particularly irregularities and imperfections that tell a story, such as a growth on a tree formed in response to a branch being cut off. “I am always interested in seeing what happened, how it responded and how it goes on. That’s the amazing thing about nature, it just goes on,” she says. Her hugely detailed sculptures in unglazed porcelain are inspired by these irregular patterns and natural forms, and are constructed in a slow, repetitive and open-ended process. “I don’t really like knowing the end at the start,” she says. “The excitement is in not knowing how it will turn out.”

Read the full interview

Works

  • © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
  • © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
  • © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
  • © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
  • © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Photo: © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Coral – Hollowed Form

This white porcelain sculpture displays a complex, repetitive pattern inspired by the structure of coral. If the shape is irregular, its composition demonstrates the principles of natural geometrical and fractal forms. The piece was fired at high temperatures.

Length 36 cm
Width 58 cm
Height 47 cm

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist
Photo: © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Teasel Grey Area and Banksia Seed Pod

These pieces are based on patterns from nature and the fractal geometry of the organisms’ structure. They are handcrafted from individual elements, dried, assembled and fired multiple times up to 1280°C.

Length 24 cm
Width 52 cm
Height 38 cm

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist
Photo: © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Radiolaria Demi-Sphere 1 and Elizabeth Fern dialogue

Based on a drawing by Ernst Haeckel in Art Forms in Nature (1904), the Radiolaria sculpture, paired here with the smaller Elizabeth Fern, was constructed from thousands of intricate handcrafted elements, following the principles of fractal geometry. The unglazed porcelain underwent multiple firings up to 1280°C.

Length 30
Width 30
Height 45

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist
Photo: © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Coral Rind Galls and Bone Structure

Nuala is inspired by the internal structure of bones and scars, exploring the beauty of imperfections and irregularities, evidence of a living organism’s ability to survive and recover from trauma. These intricate sculptures were hand-built and fired at high temperatures.

Height 18 cm
Length 18 cm
Width 12 cm
Height 40 cm
Width 24 cm

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist
Photo: © Janice O’Connell_F22 Photography
Grids Subtracted 2 and 3

These sculptures are part of Nuala’s Radiolaria series, inspired by the regular grid-like structure of the subspecies Phaedodaria, depicted in the microscopic drawings of Ernst Haeckel published in Art Forms in Nature (1904). Haeckel described more than 4,000 species of radiolarians, unicellular organisms collected from the ocean bed. Painstakingly assembled from thousands of handcrafted pieces, the sculptures were fired at high temperatures.

Height 32 cm
Width 5 cm

Nuala O’Donovan Ceramicist

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