Author, journalist, conservative, libertarian(ish)

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The Clarity of Clay


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For years Nicholas Mosse’s beautiful yet functional handcrafted pottery has turned up on tables and in cabinets in houses and cottages around the world – the movie start Karen Allen is just one of his admirers – and just recently Mosse’s work wowed the critics at the London Design Festival.

I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with Mosse and his wife Susan (who oversees the designs of the legendary spongeware) at his shop in Bennettsbridge, Ireland, for an extensive interview, and for an inside look his pottery-making process — which is deceptively complex for such simple-looking ware — and at how his international shop operates and integrates seamlessly into the local Irish community.

 One word aptly sums up Nicholas Mosse, both his accomplishments and his aspirations: sustainability. Sustainability has driven his pottery throwing—a desire from the start to revitalize the traditional and fanciful design of rural Ireland in spongeware that could be used as well as admired.

Preserving tradition is not Mosse’s only preoccupation with conservation. So is his concern for the environment, and for making his entire operation environmentally sustainable. And, not least, Mosse is about sustaining the small community around him.

In the end, it can be said that Nicholas Mosse pottery is as unpretentious as it is elegant, but the simplicity of the form and the simplicity of the decorations speak to the Irish sensibility. It is a sensibility Mosse and his colleagues capture remarkably, and all the more because the simplicity must be distilled from a complex process of creation.

Come see what Nicholas Mosse and his pottery are all about.

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