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Meet Órla Slattery

Posted 02.07.2024
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Órla is a potter based in Dublin. Last year, she converted her grandfather’s old garage into a studio, where she now works full-time with her canine studio assistant, Louis.

She makes functional pieces, mainly tableware and vases. This summer, she will launch a new unique commission service, in which she will incorporate the ashes of the deceased into the glaze of a custom-made funerary urns. The remainder of these ashes can then be stored inside the urn or scattered – whatever the family desires.

I usually get to the studio around 9 or 10am, after spending the morning working from home on my laptop (doing all of that fun administrative work). First things first, I have to feed Louis. On cooler mornings, I’ll boil the kettle while I’m weighing out the lumps of clay that I’ll be working with, so that by the time I get to throwing, the water I’m using won’t make my hands go numb (I use recycled rainwater, so when it’s cold out the water is cold too). I’ll throw for a few hours, then pause for a quick lunch.

After lunch, I’ll spend a few hours doing whatever needs to be done around the studio- it all depends on what stage of the making process I’m in. Most of the time it’s trimming, so I’ll be back at the wheel for the afternoon, but sometimes I’ll have to prepare pots for the kiln- waxing, glazing, sanding- or else I’ll get back to throwing.

I would like to say that I leave the studio at 5 or 6 O’Clock, but if I have a sale coming up or a deadline in my sights, I have been known to stay down there until 10 or 11. Before I leave the studio, I always make sure to give the floor a good mop and wipe down my workbench- very important to keep the clay dust levels to a minimum for my (and Louis’!) lungs.

Just do it. I've heard of too many people leaving it for too long before they take the leap, or never taking the leap at all, and they always end up regretting it later.

Órla Slattery

Oh, all of it. I truly enjoy every moment that I spend in the studio, regardless of what I’m doing. Have you ever seen the Disney film ‘Soul’? The film is all about a person’s ‘spark’- the thing that drives them, and makes them happy to wake up every morning. Working with clay is my ‘spark’, without a doubt. The joy and meaning that I get from pottery is something that I try to convey through my work.

My girlfriend’s paintings- I see them every day and I absolutely love them.

Favourite book?


The Bell Jar, 1984, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Catcher in the Rye- to be honest I have too many to choose from.

Maybe like 10 or 11am. It’s early enough for me to be productive but not *too* early that it’s dark.

What’s the first thing you do when you leave studio?

Lie down. My stool in the studio is the worst- I usually have to sit or lie down for a while and stretch out to get rid of all my aches and pains!
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By Órla Slattery

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