Artist Fiachra Crowley’s striking ceramic pieces are beautiful in their simplicity. Working primarily in ceramic, Fiachra makes functional stoneware pieces, as well as contemporary artworks, which are finished in box frames. He strives to make pieces which have the ability to fit into a simple modern environment, adding an element of intrigue and interest with their striking visual qualities. He also creates lino prints focusing on notable landmarks in Kenmare, such as The Suspension Bridge and The Three Men statues, located near the bridge.
A combination of blind faith, organic growth, and luck eventually led the artist to open a studio and shop on Henry Street in Kenmare, where he now works surrounded by a vibrant creative community…a gold and silversmith, photographer, interior designer, design studio, and photographer are all within a stone’s throw.
Fiachra initially studied Art, Craft, and Design before going on to develop his style and find his creative voice. After working from his home studio for a period, in October 2019 he made the bold move of registering as self-employed and began setting up the business.
“I knew from the very start that I wanted my brand to be one of quality,” he shares. “I couldn’t expect a consumer to spend their hard-earned money on a product that didn’t feel special and from a brand that looked the part. With that, I began work with Eamonn O’Sullivan of Anchor Studios here in Kenmare, creating the quality brand image I strived for.
The summer of 2020 however was the real eye-opener for the young artist: Helen Joyce from Cleo Gallery in Kenmare approached him, wanting to sell his work. “Knowing that someone had such an opinion of my work to want to sell it was crazy,” says Fiachra.
With newfound confidence, when the opportunity arose to open a pop-up shop on Henry Street in Kenmare, the talented artist hesitantly decided to go for it.
“I could never have anticipated the reaction: With the immense outpouring of local support, I struggled to keep the shop from looking bare.”
Such a positive experience prompted him to open permanently the following year. “It really felt like I was straddling the line between bravery and stupidity…I knew nothing about running a retail business, but I was going to learn on the job and give it my best shot. Thankfully this ended up being the best decision I could have made.”
Fiachra’s work has since attracted serious attention and he now supplies a number of local businesses including Brook Lane Hotel, Park Hotel, Sheen Falls Hotel, Lagom Restaurant, The Happy Pig B&B, as well as Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Galway.
From the beautiful landscape, a fitting backdrop to his work, to the vibrant community in Kenmare, Fiachra says he can’t imagine living or working anywhere other than his hometown. “There is such a sense of community support in Kenmare: People are always willing to lend a hand to others in need.”
Fiachra is currently working on a major project that has been on the go since December of 2021. While he’s dying to share more information, it has to remain under wraps for now! “It something that I still can’t really entirely believe to be real, surreal is the only word that comes to mind, and it will make it to the list of career highlights very soon.”
If you don’t make it to Kenmare before Christmas, for beautiful unique gifts from as little as €14, you can visit Fiachra’s shop online at www.fiachracrowley.com.