Meet the Maker Orla Culligan, Ceramicist

Posted 12.10.22

Meet the Maker Orla Culligan, Ceramicist

Orla Culligan makes unique slipcast ceramics for the home in Moycullen, Galway. She strives to provide high quality products that bring joy to the owner’s home and to keep her business sustainable by having as little waste as possible and a low environmental impact. The original inspiration for her work comes from finding ‘rubbish’ washed up on the beaches where she grew up in East Cork. She walks along the beach, flotsam and jetsam is tangled among the seaweed. Its bright synthetic man-made colours sing out. On closer scrutiny these objects have a gorgeous range of textures where the sea has intervened, seams and edges have softened, yet there is still evidence of the making process, of the machine.

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What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
Each day is pretty different. If I'm casting I usually start out the day by getting my moulds ready making sure they're dry enough to start casting. Then I prep my slip (liquid clay) and decide which colours I'll be casting with. I'll spend most of the day casting and finish up by demoulding what I've done during the day so it can dry out and clean up all the jugs and slips. Other tasks that I do regularly is making new models on the plaster lathe, casting the plaster moulds, sanding bisque-ware, glazed wares or the terrazzo items, glazing, packing online orders and trying to remember to video and photograph it all!

What do you like most about your work?
Making new pieces and when I see people enjoying my work

What do you like least about your work?  
Finding the balance business management side and the creative side

What's your favourite craft item in your home?
Hmmm so hard to pick one! My Adam Frew mug is very precious to me I bought it the first time I went to Ceramic Art London and I also have a very cosy McNutt blanket which is a definite must have.

What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?  
Be brave and back yourself! starting a craft business is definitely not an easy road to take but if you're passionate about your craft it will all pay off in the end

How do you switch off?
Swim in the sea or curl up on the couch to watch netflix

How do you start your day?
I try to do some sort of exercise first thing in the morning to get me up and going for the day

Favourite film?
Friends with benefits

Best concert you have ever been to?
I saw Joy Crooks in the Olympia last year which was brilliant

Favourite meal?

What do you listen to?
I listen to podcasts more than music in studio

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