Smashing Pots
With Ursula Tramski Ceramic Artist
The Primal elements of earth and fire really come to the fore in
the work of German-born potter Ursula Tramski. The unique
power of this work comes through the special efforts involved
in its production. Using one of the oldest methods of ring clay, the Japanese art of Anagama, Ursula’s work evokes an ancient primitive energy. At her welcoming studio and gallery on the Dingle Peninsula you can see Ursula’s unique creations for yourself.
In 2001, together with an enthusiastic group of potters, Ursula built one of the first Anagama Kilns in Ireland. Here the elements of earth and water are brought together with re and wood, in a culmination of the potter’s art, to achieve a transformation of stunning beauty. Since the fifth century the tradition of Anagama ring has been part of the potters art and the distinctive colours that are the mark of Anagama are much prized by potters and collectors alike. The technique has spread from Japan, and today a small but dedicated body of wood ring potters exist around the world. Many examples of their work can be seen in museums and collections, a testament to a process that has not changed since its inception 1,500 years ago.
The unpredictability of the Anagama method can mean that disappointment and satisfaction often lie close together, but with every ring the techniques and possibilities of this method have been explored and the experience and skills of the group have grown. It takes five tons of carefully cut wood and the potter’s constant attention to reach a temperature of over 1,300 degrees. After five days and nights in the firestorm of the kiln expectations run high, but the beauty of the process lies in this uncertainty and the resulting layers of natural wood ash capture the dynamics of the flame in the vibrant colours and textures that are so sought after by potters and collectors alike.
Ursula Tramski also organises a number of workshops tailored for individual needs and covering various techniques. These can be for wood ring or electric ring. If you are interested in taking part in a workshop please contact Ursula for further information.
Ursula’s Ballineanig Gallery is open to the public for viewings, 10am-6pm from March to September or by prior arrangement, please ring 066 9154777.


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