Simply natural, Simply fabulous ! Nuala O’Donovan is an Irish artist who is working in sculptural ceramics,based in Cork, Ireland. In her work, Nuala combines regular pattern with the characteristics of irregular patterns and forms from nature. Each element of the pattern is individually made, the form is constructed slowly over a period of weeks or months. The finished forms are a result of an intuitive response to the direction that the pattern takes as well as the irregularity in the handmade elements of the pattern.

I have used the characteristics of irregular/fractal patterns in nature as a system of constraints or guidelines when making decisions about the forms: The patterns are regularly irregular. The patterns and form are self-similar. The pattern records a response to random events during the making process. The result of using the characteristics of fractal geometry in making decisions regarding the form of the sculptural pieces, is that the form is resolved but retains a sense of potential change.

The viewer engages with the piece by allowing their own visual experiences to influence their view of the outcome of the form and its future possibilities. I hope that this aspect of my work also evokes the transitory quality of living organisms, combining traces of history, the present and the future, in the patterns that make up their surfaces and forms.

In her work, Nuala’s research patterns and forms from nature stemmed from her interest in the narrative quality of irregularities in patterns. The history behind a scarred or broken surface is what fascinates him. The evidence of a response to random events visible in patterns in nature, is testament to the ability of living organisms to recover, to respond, and to continue growing and changing. It is the imperfections in the patterns caused by a unique experience that are evidence of the life force in living organisms.


© Photographer: Sylvain Deleu. Copyright: Nuala O’Donovan.

Sculptural forms in porcelain clay
Teasel: These pieces uses a regular pattern based on the teasel flower. The form is a result of allowing the irregularities in the handmade work to influence the direction that the pattern and shape followed.

©Photographer: Sylvain Deleu. Copyright: Nuala O’Donovan.


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