Merit Prize 2015

Kate O’Kelly

Kate O'Kelly

Merit Prize

Originally from Co. Wicklow, Kate O’Kelly completed a BDes at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin in 2010 and an MA in Ceramic Design, also at NCAD, in 2013.

Inspired by the solitude of the rural Irish countryside in Annamoe and her grandmother’s eclectic Georgian house filled with beautifully crafted objects from around the world, her work manifests as surreal hybrid objects that reference the visual environments of her childhood. The work is playful and evocative, engaging the viewer with a sense of familiarity and wonder. It explores the relationships between people, objects and themes relating to memory, attachment and play through the use of familiar domestic forms, all drawing from personal narratives. She works with assemblage and found objects to produce composites. Casts are taken of various forms in plaster and then produced using earthenware slip, often in multiples that allow for a number of different combinations. Glaze is then added layer by layer, using different sized spray guns and stains to achieve small, detailed ‘blushes’ of colour on some areas.

Kate O’Kelly applied for a Golden Fleece Award to enable her to set up and fit-out a ceramics studio that would allow her to continue experimenting with slip-casting and mould-making following time spent working as Designer in Residence at NCAD. This would allow her to become more self-sufficient in terms of space and facilities and to subsequently develop a range of more commercial work.