Craft Scotland at SOFA Chicago - Meet the Makers

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Susan O’Byrne - Ceramics, Glasgow

Your creations have such life and character, how do you achieve this? The animals I make are not intended to be direct representations of real species. They are representations of human emotions or ways of being. Much of my work attempts to subtly convey feelings of anxiety, awkwardness, sensitivity or hope. The anatomy of my creatures have little in common with real biology, instead their body shapes and postures often owe more to puppetry and folk art. I feel that elements of my particular making technique, such as the shrinkage of the clay onto wire, or the way in which some work is hung in the kiln, also contribute to the feeling of life. Tell us about the most challenging piece you’ve ever made, what did it teach you? I don’t think I can narrow this to one piece; the work has presented me with many challenges. I have developed a very personal making process, and continue to enjoy how technical problems and solutions can suggest interesting and new aesthetics. Print and pattern are a huge part of your work, where does the inspiration for these come from? I would like my work to suggest that it has a history – that it was perhaps made some time in the past for some unknown purpose or event. I cover my animals in a surface of scraps