For the past 18 years, ceramists and identical twins, Claire and Karen, have been creating their exquisite pieces in their Northern Ireland based studio.
After graduating from the University of Ulster at Belfast in 1996, each with a BA. Honours Degree and then in 1998 with a Masters in Fine and Applied Art, Karen and Claire both spent some time working in the retail industry to gain the business and management experience they needed to open their own studio which they did in 2001.
Both sisters had always been creative and inspired to make things from a young age. Art was the only subject they both seemed to be enthralled in which led them to go on to further study at Art College. After choosing three dimensional aspects of study and discovering clay, both sisters were hooked and studied together, specialising in Applied Art/Ceramics.
Inspiration comes in many forms for the ceramists, from travelling to new places, looking at the surroundings, to nature and architecture, to design and function. Recently they both visited Chernobyl for a research trip. Karen feels a nostalgia for the iconic items we are surrounded by becoming obsolete, such as light bulbs and traditional bottles, keys etc. and likes to incorporate this into her work. Claire is more driven by close observation of natural forms such as seed pods and marine life, coupled with an architectural influence, crisp clean lines in contrast to purposefully uneven lines and carved forms.
Claire and Karen enjoy working together, bouncing ideas off of each other and give each other vital constructive criticism. Karen states that, "our work is very different but tends to tie in well together with us both having an interest in natural forms and architecture, as well as antiques, with a penchant for all things insect or specimen related. "
They are currently designing some new works for the Royal Ulster Academy show in Belfast later in the year.