Claire Molloy has the best of both worlds, combining her love of ceramics with her passion for horses which she breeds. She was born in 1982 in Callan, Co Kilkenny, Ireland. She grew up on a farm in Tipperary which kept horses and cattle.

In 2004 she graduated with a BA Hons degree in Sculptural Ceramics from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Her life-long interest in horses led her to work for Coolmore Stud in Fethard, Co. Tipperary for a number of years.

Claire owns and breeds her own horses which she then trains to a competitive level. She is a regular tutor for the South Tipperary Art Group. Throughout this time she has continued to exhibit her own ceramic work.

In July 2012 she graduated from the Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic skills and design course. She now has set up her Studio in the beautiful surroundings of Rossenarra, Kilmoganny, Co. Kilkenny, where she specialises in horse hair and smoke fire ceramics. She is a member of the MADE in Kilkenny Craft Group and is the current winner of the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce Craft Business of the Year.

My Story:

My name is Claire Molloy and my studio is based on our family farm in the beautiful surroundings of Kilmaganny Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

I grew up on a horse and cattle farm in South Tipperary. I guess you could say horses were always in my blood, but so was pottery… some of my earliest memories were gathering up the soil in the garden and fashioning it into bowls and vessels.

 

At the age of 10 I was lucky enough to get my own pony and started competing in pony club events. I then progressed to competing in one day events , show-jumping and dressage competitions.  I also began training young horses and continue to do so to this day.

 

I always had an interest in Art, it was my favorite subject in school, this interest lead me to studying fine art in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology where I specialised in sculptural ceramics.

 

It was for my Degree show in 2004 that I first combined my love of horses and art. I incorporated horsehair into my ceramic sculpture. Upon finishing college, missing horses I took a job riding out in a racing yard and eventually took part in a yearlong Teagasc course in Kildaltion College studying Horse breeding and training. I then worked for a number of years in Coolmore Stud, during that time I got some experience working in Ballydoyle for Adain O’Brian.

 

In 2010 I got accepted into the Crafts Council of Irelands Ceramics Skills and Design course and it is there that I developed my range of horsehair ceramics. The course ended with a successful show in the National Craft Gallery, after which I was lucky enough to be chosen as a member of the prestigious MADE IN KILKENNY craft group and just over a year later I was awarded the Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce Craft Business of The Year.

 

I work from my studio, which is in a converted milking parlour, on our farm in Rossenarra Kilmoganny. Our farm was once part of the Rossenara Estate. It has a rich history. It is said that the infamous racing horse, Red Rum was bred on the Rossenara estate. Sir John Lavery spent his last days in the estate house and many famous people, including Frank Sinatra stayed there.

 

I have four horses. Ruby and Katie are the two mares which I breed from. Fionn my gelding which I bred and trained myself and a two year old Apollo.

Being a horse owner, I love creating personalised pieces for horse owners using hair from their own horses. Most notably I created a presentation piece for Paralympic Dressage medallist Helen Kearney, using hair from her horse Mr. Cool.

 

I guess you can say I have the best of both worlds, working with clay and incorporating my love of horses into it.

 

Claire and her horse FionnClaire and her horse Fionn

Claire applying horsehair to one of her vesselsClaire applying horsehair to one of her vessels

Claire Molloy specialises in horsehair and smoke fired ceramics, in addition to her functional tableware.

She is influenced by the Irish rural environment and likes to create simple natural looking forms with subtle colours and textures. Her love of horses directly influences her horsehair pottery.

She uses hair from her horse’s manes and tails to embellish the vessels. She also uses wood shavings, straw and hay to create her smoke fired pots, all materials which are used to care for her horses.

‘Horsehair pottery was first discovered by the Native American Navajos. Folklore has it that a Pueblo potter woman discovered this art form when her long hair accidentally blew and made an impression on the hot piece of pottery she was removing from the kiln. She was fascinated by what she saw and decided to try this technique with many other things like straw, pine needles, feathers and finally horse hair.

They found that the thicker and coarser horse hair left striking and clear impressions on the pot as compared to the finer human hair.

Horses were very important to the Navajo people and they continue to this day to commemorate their horses through horsehair pottery.’

Claire uses hair from her own horses to create her horse hair pottery. She can also create unique pieces for horse owners, where they can send her hair form their own horses, which she uses to create a special memento just for them.

 

Being a horse owner herself, Claire understands how the horses in our lives become very meaningful to us.

Claire offers a unique service for horse owners, where they can send her hair from their own horses, she then uses this hair to create a special horsehair ceramic memento just for them. Not much hair is needed just a few strands from the mane or tail.

If you are interested in a unique personalised piece of horse hair pottery using your own horses hair, contact Claire through e- mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 087-2146328 to make arrangements.