Shawn Ireland is a potter and painter living in Athens, Georgia. Since 1991 he has made pots with food, flowers and candles in mind. “I choose to make pots with a foundation in folk tradition. For me, this involves using a variety of hand-processed local clays and glaze materials, single firing in a gas/wood burning kiln, and using a kick wheel. These ingredients promote surprises and keep my craft connected to the natural world.” While being influenced by pottery making traditions adopted from his teachers, Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin, Shawn’s pots continue to change. He makes useful, earthy pots for the home and his travels to Europe and South Africa have inspired a sculptural direction in the form of zoomorphic candlesticks, vases and bowls he calls Animalware. “My pots are eclectic. I work quickly and playfully with the clay while respecting the nature of my materials and tools. Whether potting or painting, I love to be lost in the moments of making – in the search.”
Since 1997, Shawn has exhibited his clay work in many galleries and juried shows including the Smithsonian Craft Show and Philadelphia Museum Show. His pots have made their way into homes all over the world. He has been a Resident Artist at Penland School of Crafts, the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy and the University of Georgia Study Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy. Shawn also works with the UGA Maymester Classics program in Europe which continues to provide an opportunity for discovery and renewal of ancient art influences.
Shawn and his wife, Jo, are enamored with world travel. “My work changes after every trip. New art, gardens and good food always inspire me.”