Today we’re talking to Ireland-based ceramicist Mairi Stone, who is creating incredible nature-inspired ceramics from porcelain paper clay in a spare bedroom of her home.
If you aren’t familiar with paper clay, it’s a mixture of clay and cellulose fibers, which are typically paper pulp. This makes the clay more stable to work with, enabling thin, translucent works like Mairi’s lamps.
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What do you make? What do you consider your best or favorite work?
I make mostly decorative work using porcelain paper clay. My work is very varied so choosing my favourite is very difficult, but I do enjoy making the lamps.
Tell us about your workshop
My workshop is in my house, it would be a bedroom. It’s roughly 4.5m x 3.5m.
I moved here in 2005. It has two large windows so lots of natural light. It’s also easy to ventilate which is important because as at the moment I have my kilns in there too.
Previously I used an outside wooden workshop at my last house but I began on the kitchen table back in the early 2000s.
How long have you been doing your craft? Who taught you or where did you learn?
I have always loved clay since I was a child. I did a night course about pottery back in the 80’s and worked there for a short while, but honestly I didn’t learn a huge amount.
It wasn’t until I moved to Ireland in 2000 that I slowly started teaching myself, with the aid of books, YouTube, and advice from fellow ceramicists both online and in person.
Any advice for beginners to your craft?
I could probably write a whole essay on this, but certainly when starting out concentrate on the making.
Don’t worry about if anyone will like it or not, and do make mistakes, they are there to learn from.
Do learn from others but never compare yourself or your work to others. Use social media, especially Instagram, also a Facebook page and possibly TikTok. My main audience would be the first two.
People love to see you grow in your skills and share the journey. Other artists on there are often happy to give advice and many do in their stories.
Who/what inspires you? Any shoutouts to fellow makers?
Nature is my muse. All the organic shapes, textures and forms inform my work.
I love absolutely loads of different artists and makers, far too many to pick out any individuals to be fair.
More ceramics Tiny Workshops interviews
Mairi’s choice of material allows her to make thin, translucent lamps from the comfort of home.
Maria Monasterio’s bright, greenhouse-like ceramics workshop is filled with imaginative handmade objects inspired by marine life and fantastic worlds.