Terra Hibernia is a body of ceramic works produced by Wicklow native Dan Laffan. Dan is a musician, composer, and visual artist who works in a wide variety of disciplines and media. He is now currently working as a facilitator of ceramic classes running at the Signal Arts Centre in Bray.
His upcoming exhibition takes its name from the Latin “terra” meaning earth, and the term “Hibernia,” which was used in antiquity for marking the place of Ireland, giving us the direct translation “earth from the land of winter.”
The collection of work is structured along the lines of a narrative, the idea being, to tell the intertwining Stories of the material and landscape, and to chart the personal creative journey of the artist, from imagination to reality. The pieces themselves, held together by the air, and made just of earth and water, are in some sense representative of the footprints along this journey, moments of fleeting inspiration, but fixed now in time through the alchemical transformation of fire.
All the works in the show are made exclusively from clay gathered from south county Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford. The show begins with a display of the raw unworked source material and ends with bonsai arrangements depicting the distilled beauty of the landscape from which the material and inspiration is drawn, what takes place between is an unveiling, and indeed celebration of the extraordinary potential when this given material is formed with purpose and rendered with love and skill in equal measure.
Despite appearances, all the wheel-thrown works in the exhibition are not glazed on the outside, the almost machine-like precision in terms of surface treatment comes from years of experience gained in his early 20’s making and restoring marble fireplaces. The influence of this experience along with knowledge of the techniques used in finishing marble are what gives the work its remarkable quality and signature style.
The show will be running for just two weeks and promises to captivate anyone with an interest in ceramics, art, design, or indeed nature, so make a note in your diary and do your best to catch what will be an exhibition with something for everyone.