Susan O'Byrne

Place of Birth: Cork, Ireland

Susan O’Byrne specialises in the making of ceramic narrative animal forms, with a highly detailed collaged porcelain surface.

Her work not only acknowledges the extraordinary role occupied by the animal in the imagination - populating myth, children’s stories and cultural traditions throughout history - but also the ability of the metaphorical animal to embody, distil and reflect aspects of our own humanity. The combined influences of a childhood obsession with making in papier-mâché, an interest in historic domestic craft, folk art and collage, have led Susan to develop a unique set of ceramic making processes aimed at articulating human sensitivity.
These techniques include building in thin sheets of paper-porcelain on a nichrome wire armature and collaging surfaces with veneers of porcelain sheets printed with detailed encaustic pattern. The surfaces of Susan’s work are inspired by traditional craft processes and have celebrated medieval floor tiles, Victorian wallpapers and eighteenth domestic needlepoint. Most recently the surfaces of her work have been inspired by ancient Egyptian stone carving and Chinese Cloisonné enamelling.

Susan graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1999. Following a subsequent post graduate diploma in ceramics, she worked as a ceramics tutor at Edinburgh College of Art and as a community educator which had a distinct influence on her own work. In 2003 she established her practice at Glasgow Ceramics Studio. She has received several awards for her work, including the Craft Potters Association’s (London) charitable trust fund award and most recently, the Archie Bray Foundation’s (US) Sage scholarship, Rudy Audio development grant and the Richard Coley Award for Sculpture at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Susan’s practice is now based between Glasgow and Ireland and she continues to exhibit widely in the UK and internationally.


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