So who is Creative Clay?
Hi I'm Raquel Walsh from Creative Clay
I grew up in Shannon, County Clare in the south-west of Ireland. On leaving school I had my heart set on going to art college to do fashion design but during my art & design foundation year, I experienced all of the art disciplines and fell for clay. I don't remember that light bulb moment when clay became my new love and fashion was forgotten, but in 1990 I got offered my place at Limerick School of Art & Design
My first choice, was of course Ceramics and my second choice was Sculpture, if I remember correctly. Fashion was obviously not for me which is why I’m so happy I did that foundation year.
I loved my four years in art college. I always knew I wanted to have my own ceramic studio one day but first I needed to get some life experience, see the world. And that’s just what I did.
I travelled for a year, backpacking and working in Australia, then spent two summers working on a children's summer camp in Northern California called Coppercreek Camp - which was amazing and is still going strong today. I ran the Clay and Craft programme. Beautiful weather, amazing people and doing what I love. I don't think I quite appreciated it at the time as much I do now. I met some super people including an Australian girl who I joined on an interrailing adventure around Europe after camp.
There were a few months spent in Israel working on a Moshav (a small farming community) where I picked peppers first for a while, then sunflowers. They were a bit tricky because they were so tall and I am only 5ft tall. I also got to China, Hong Kong, then back to Australia for a visit before I was eventually satisfied and ready to return to Shannon, to get a real job.
I worked in Irish Country Pottery, in Shannon as the supervisor of the glazing department. It was fantastic to work in the pottery factory, I learned so much and gained so much practical experience. I also met my husband, who is also a potter (an added bonus!) He came from Cornwall, England to study at the Ceramic Skills and Design Training Course in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Then the recession hit and we were made redundant which initially was a huge blow.
But in fact, that redundancy was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to stay at home and enjoy my babies until they were ready to start school. Then as my daughter was approaching school age I began to look at fulfilling that dream to have my own ceramic studio and in 2015 Creative Clay was established. I feel like I have gone full circle. I am so content and satisfied with what I have achieved.
It is so important whenever possible to trust your instincts and follow your dreams and if it is meant to be it will happen. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow until the time is right. Believe in yourself and you will be amazed at what you can achieve and how amazing you are. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way. Some would say I was lucky, but I had ambitions to do what I did and as a result I found the ways and means to fulfill those ambitions. The big one took 20 years, but it was so worth the wait.