Orla Culligan explores the crossover between the manmade and natural world, and juxtaposes the impersonal qualities of mass production with the personal aesthetic of the domestic environment. Her work is influenced and inspired by the local beaches she grew up near, on the south coast of Ireland, and the man-made debris washed ashore that she would come across. Often synthetic in origin, it was weathered by churning salt water and transformed by the sea with edges softened and colours faded, creating a stark visual dialogue.
Using slip casting, Orla creates her own flotsam and jetsam with ceramics echoing industrial styling such as exposed seams, narrow rims, angular forms and very fine cross sections. Her matt finish on the exteriors contrasts beautifully with the soft sheen of the interiors and mirrors the softening effect of the ocean on man-made/machine made objects. Her handmade functional pieces and art objects have a fresh and joyful colour palette and are intended to be held, used and loved.