The Arts Interview: Clare Jordan

John Rainsford

Reporter:

John Rainsford

The Arts Interview: Clare Jordan the founder of the Limerick Craft Collective and project manager for the citys Craft Hub
Having lived in Dublin for all of my early life the family moved to Limerick when my father took a job down here.

Having lived in Dublin for all of my early life the family moved to Limerick when my father took a job down here.

My education was conducted in Cratloe NSl, the Presentation Convent Secondary School, in Sexton Street, and finally at Limerick Institute of Technology’s School of Professional Studies (SOPS). After graduating as an Accounting Technician, I worked in a wide range of business roles, while enjoying ceramics as a hobby from my late twenties. Today, I am a ceramic artist, specializing in hand built porcelain. Creating ‘Porcelain with Passion’, I use a range of techniques to form table top items, such as Porcelain Pouches, wall art (‘Fying Swallows’), jewellery (‘Nauti Knots’) and a wide range of sculptures , for example ‘Riverside Culture’, created to celebrate Limerick, the riverside city being designated City of Culture. I am, also, a founding Chairperson of the Limerick Craft Collective, a group of professional craftspeople formed in 2013, to create a focal craft identity, public appreciation, education of and a marketplace, for craft and design handmade in Limerick. The Limerick Craft Collective organises events, such as the Riverfest Craft Fair at the Hunt Museum, as well as training and opportunities for its members. In addition, I am a member of the Limerick Ceramic Artists, a group of local ceramicists who organise events and exhibitions. At a national level, I am a member of Ceramics Ireland and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

Limerick’s City of Culture year provided the perfect opportunity to promote previously unknown local craft businesses.

Following on from the founding of the Limerick Craft Collective, I worked with many in Limerick’s Craft Community to raise the local craft profile. When the City of Culture project was confirmed I applied along with others for the part-time position of Project Manager, and was delighted to be appointed. Indeed, we knitted the Giant Scarf for the Royal De Luxe Granny’s visit to the city. The Craft Hub has a wide remit, showcasing the best of fashion, home ware and furnishing, jewellery, books, cards, toys, artisan food and crafted wall art in the retail shop. It, also, provides the public with a wonderful opportunity to see Ceramics, Felt making and Silversmith studios.

We are delighted to have been accredited by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland as part of their Irish Craft Studio Experience campaign with Fáilte Ireland.

This October we held an Afternoon Tea with Style Fashion Show, as part of the Limerick Fashion Trail and charity events, like our Irish Cancer Society fundraiser Craft It Pink workshop. Our Community Craft Corner continues to be a favourite with many who call in every Monday and Friday morning. In November, we are holding two craft exhibitions. Crafting Design will showcase the design processes used by our local Craftspeople, in celebration of National Design Week. We will, also, host the Limerick Ceramic Artists Exhibition (Small Yet Perfectly Formed). We look forward to a full calendar in 2015 as the Year of Irish Design, including the Limerick Craft Hub’s Limerick Design Awards.

Craft Work was not in my family background as such.

Having come from a hobby background, I was familiar with the isolated nature of crafts and enjoyed the social interaction element of talking with other creative people, when I got the opportunity. For example, I meet other craftspeople regularly at craft fairs, and training days. In our conversations, it was apparent that we often shared the same issues around products, processes, and business acumen to name but a few. Seeing the opportunity to maximise those talents that each individual could bring to the table, I suggested with some others, that we should create a forum. Here, each individual craftsperson and the craft culture in our area might be improved through training, marketing, and advocacy. With participation by the Hunt Museum in their support of local craft, the Limerick Craft Collective has grown to become a registered member of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, and recognised as the representative voice of Limerick Craft.

My former employer deserves the main credit for my life decision to pursue craft work.

Redundancy brings a lot of things into perspective. While unsuccessfully looking for a new job, and having more time to create in clay, I thought about the fulfilling enjoyment I had received from doing ceramics. It was somewhat different to my former career choices. However, there was a willingness in me to follow the natural creativity that came with my new passion after discovering the precise form that it would take. We are all creative, but not everyone gets the opportunity to find or follow it.

The ability to create is, I believe, a largely untapped pool.

While many appreciate the artist’s work, not all are in a position to buy it, and this is even truer of the current economic climate. As a result, most artists struggle to earn a living. That is why opportunities, such as those provided by the Limerick Craft Hub, are a very significant support. The ‘Hub’ also provides marketing and sales to a larger audience than any individual artist could possibly resource. Apart from artistic merit, the personal development, enjoyment, relaxation, and therapeutic benefits, available to artists, whether or not anyone ever sees their work, are the best reasons to pursue an artistic life!

From November 13 - 30 Limerick Craft Hub is hosting the Limerick Ceramic Artist’s Exhibition, Small Yet Perfectly Formed. In the spirit of Getting Crafty for Christmas, the ‘Hub’ is also offering a range of ‘Make Your Own’ Christmas Decorations, Jewellery / Gifts, Workshops, every Saturday this December. Thoughts in Clay-a Solo Exhibition by Clare Jordan is currently on at Friars’ Gate Theatre. Clare is also Craftsperson of the month at the Hunt Museum for December. See www.limerickcraftcollective.com for more details.