Mike Byrne – In the Window, October 2020

October 2020

Part of the Liverpool Irish Festival 2020


For five years the Bluecoat Display Centre has partnered the Liverpool Irish Festival, selecting a contemporary Irish craft maker to exhibit here – In the Window – for the month of October during the festival.

In celebration of this years festival Limerick based ceramic artist Mike Byrne has been selected to exhibit In the Window.

Mike Byrne has always been interested in domestic ceramics, more specifically the jug, the archetypical domestic object, he uses it to explore the edges of, and the connections between design, function, narrative and art. The use of a combination of fired clay and other materials, both found and worked, and the freedom to play fast and loose with the elements, is an attempt to erode the boundaries between these disciplines. The way in which we consider familiar objects and their various relationships with symbolism, ceramic history and material culture is also part of the exploration.

Each piece is slab built, with surface patina resulting from multiple layers of engobe or coloured slips. Numerous firings take place until the desired depth of surface colour and texture is reached.

“In my own work, sometimes intentional, sometimes accidental, my exploration of surface texture and colour seems to reflect the world around me. I believe that land and seascapes local to me, and unique to Ireland, drive the decision-making process that I use to build up the surfaces of my ceramics. Insofar as these surfaces derive their nature and energy from the influences surrounding me, they certainly reflect my Irishness.

The forms I have been making for some time now, upon which the above surfaces are developed, also have a certain Irish connection. Common domestic shapes such as pitchers, metal jugs and pourers have been creative resources for the shapes I have produced and new shapes that are evolving.”

– Mike Byrne

Bluecoat Display Centre and Liverpool Irish Festival are delighted to be working with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) again, who supported the call out, selection and contribute towards transport costs. The selection panel is made up of representatives from the Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool Irish Festival and Design Council of Northern Ireland.