A good friend of me and my sweetie is an amazing potter. She has been creating and having gallery shows for decades and is now into her seventies. Due to an accident last year she almost completely lost her sight, but thanks to some experimental treatments she has regained some of her eyesight and has started working with pottery every day recently. Thanks to a gentle nudge from my sweetie she has agreed to take on three apprentices and has asked me to be the first one. We each get one month each with her to work on a clay mask and other projects if there is enough time. I decided to make a mask of the Cailleach Bheur as I’ve always been drawn to her through my Irish-Scots heritage. A goddess of many names: “old woman”, Cailleach, Gyre Carline, Cailleach Bheur, Beira…
My apprenticeship began in January, I sculpted the mask by hand, then it was fired, then I glazed it with clear for the hair and eye, cobalt for the eye and details and turquoise and ice blue glazes were sprayed on to finish. I had a great time in my friend’s studio as I had’t worked with clay for about 10 years and my friend is a truly amazing woman who brings out the best in everyone. We had some good laughs and she decided she loved my sketch so much that she made a Cailleach mask too!
close-up of the carved cheek spirals