Meet the Maker: Orla O’Regan, Orla O Visual Art

Posted 01.04.21

Meet the Maker: Orla O’Regan, Orla O Visual Art

Orla Ó Regan is the woman behind Orla O Visual Art. She is a ceramicist and DCCI member based in Mallow, Co. Cork. Orla's art is made using rolled porcelain clay and hand-imprinting individual letters into the clay before kiln firing. Orla's work is available on her website www.orlaovisual.ie.

What's a typical day like for you?
My typical day is a little varied right now with lockdown and having two smallies at home - I have to mix it up a lot! Some days I focus on creating ‘Words in Porcelain’ from raw clay and preparing it for firing in the kiln. Other days are framing, packaging, posting and admin days. Flexibility is key right now!

What do you like most about your work?
When I’m making, I’m in a completely mindful zone, tuned out of all else that is going on in the world, while listening to music that I love. Social media and admin does account for a large portion of my day, but this is a crucial element of my work since I solely manage all aspects of my business. It would be ideal to just make and create, but for now, I must take care of it all!

I would say I least like admin! Social media and admin does account for a large portion of my day, but this is a crucial element of my work since I solely manage all aspects of my business. It would be ideal to just make and create, but for now I must take care of it all.

What's your favourite craft item in your home?
My pride and joy are pieces that my little boy Jonah has created. I have two family portraits drawn by him hanging in our living room, one on canvas and the other set into Porcelain.

I love to collect Irish craft, and creatively exchange with artists I love.

What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
I simply adore the delicate and intricate works of two Irish ceramicists - Nuala O'Donovan and Isobel Egan. They both create very delicate, but indeed very different, porcelain sculptures. Isobel creates fine porcelain box structures, which are minuscule environments that explore issues of fragility, personal space and memory. Nuala creates intricate porcelain sculptures, which are inspired by nature and the irregularities that manifest themselves in everything, from shells to flowers.

What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
I worked in construction before choosing craft fulltime, 5 years ago, but I always craved to work creatively. I say go for it, if you are looking to change direction. It's important to find your niche and don't be afraid to take that first big step. If it's for you it will all work out. Don't have regrets.

What's your favourite time of the day?
I'm a bit of a night owl, so I enjoy working into the late hours when the kids are asleep and all is quiet. When I know the rest of the world is asleep I'm happy out doing my thing.

How do you switch off?
I feel that when I start making I completely switch off - I've always said it's my therapy - throw in some music and I'm in my happy place. I also enjoy meditating and getting into the sea when I can.

How do you start your day?
I check in with myself, think about what needs doing that day, and I make my list! Lists are something I've inherited from my mother - am lost without them.

What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
Get back to family time! Eating together after a day's work is always lovely.

Favourite book?
I love anything by Marian Keyes - I get so engrossed in reading her books - another amazing way to switch off!

Favourite film?
Bit of a random trio -but 'Some like it Hot', 'True Romance', and 'French Kiss'

Best concert you have ever been to?
Foo Fighters - Rock en Seine - Paris

What do you listen to?
I'm a bit of a 90's indie/grunge girl...But equally anything with a chilled vibe is great for making.

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