Inspired by the sea and landscape of Ireland
We came to Ireland on holiday in 2006 and were so taken with the friendly people, the beautiful scenery, and the quality of life that we decided to move there! We were always interested in creativity, specifically crafts and music. In 2010 we decided to open a craft shop called The Mood Gallery, not just for our own creations, which were jewelry at the time, but to accommodate all like-minded artistic people in the area. We used to organise art exhibitions for local artists and life music sessions, where Lukie could play on his piano accordion with other musicians. The experience of meeting creative people, selling their products and talking to customers gave us food for thought. I always have lots of ideas running through my mind for different crafts and products, and one day I bought a bag of clay and started play with different forms and shapes. I had a friend who kindly fired my stuff in their kiln so I could experiment, and I learned a lot about this art form.
I encouraged Lukasz to try to build something with clay, but he was not interested for a good while. Finally, after long persuasion, Lukasz formed a small figurine, which we managed to fire and glaze. Only the trunk and arms remained intact, but it actually turned out pretty nice, because it looked like an antique. After much contemplation we both attended a pottery and ceramics course in Galway. During the course, we were particularly taken with the hand-building of ceramics as opposed to pottery, which is thrown on a wheel. This was the key which opened the door to our ceramics business, and it is in this field that we have continued to work and develop our own style.
We didn’t plan to set up a ceramic business. We thought it could be our new hobby, something we could enjoy together. It was only a few months after the course when we made our first few bowls mirroring the Irish Sea and landscape and added pictures of them on our Facebook page. The very next day, we had a query from a local shop asking if we could supply them with those sea bowls! This is how we started developing our range and selling it to more vendors. In the meantime we had our first baby and decided to close our old craft shop and focus on our new arrival. After doing a few craft fairs and thinking about the future and direction of our business, we decided to convert an old horse shed into our studio. A lot of hard work was undertaken by Lukie to adapt the stable — insulation, a water supply, shelving and work benches, putting in an old pot-bellied stove to keep us warm in winter and help dry out the ceramics. Finally we had the electricity connected and our kiln plugged in, ready for action.
Our home and studio are surrounded by much of the scenery which inspires our work. Croagh Patrick lies to the west of us. Curving round the north of Clew Bay are the Hills of Achill, their colours changing with the seasons. Closer by we have the tracks that lead in to the cut-away bogs, which are covered in rushes and standing water when the soft rain falls over Ireland. The light continually changes here with the movement of the clouds and reflections from the sea. This stunning scenery inspires most of our ideas which we incorporate into our ceramics; the mountains are reflected in the shape of the bowls and our unique glaze and use of glass mirrors the colours we see around us. To date, The Mood Designs has two collections: the Sea range and the Rain range. Each hand finished product is unique and has its own variations, while still being part of a larger collection.
Ceramics is not only hobby for us, it’s a way of life that we love. We are honored to be able to spread our interpretations of Irish beauty to other craft-enthusiasts and nature lovers.