Hello Friends,

Most everything I do in my daily life relates to my passion for art. I surround myself with what I find beautiful and seek out images and objects that resonate. I love making things at the wheel or the easel and I love being lost in the moments of making or “in the search”. Watching, feeling and experiencing the beautiful natural qualities of clay and oil paint are what make this searching such a pleasure.

Working from a foundation of folk tradition, I make pots with food, flowers and candles in mind.  For me, this involves using a variety of hand processed local clays and glaze materials, single firing in a wood burning kiln, and using a kick wheel. These ingredients promote surprises and keep my craft connected to the natural world.

My pots continue to change over time under the influence of pottery making traditions adopted from my teachers Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin. Several trips to central Italy have inspired a figurative direction I call Animal Ware which currently takes the form of candlesticks, vases and bowls.

I began painting with oils as a Resident Artist at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina in 1996. While most of my time is devoted to pottery making, evenings are spent painting. Since working in Cortona, Italy, with the University of Georgia between 2006 & 2013, I have focused on still life and landscapes. In Italy, in an environment where everything is at once new, old, beautiful and interesting, I was constantly inspired & challenged.


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Born in Lancaster, PA
BFA Kutztown University 1990

1990-1995 Attended 25 pottery and painting workshops at Penland School of Crafts, NC

1991 After a two month workshop with Will Ruggles & Douglass Rankin, I fell in love with clay and fire and was determined to be a wood fire potter

1993-1995 Lived at Penland School as a work exchange CORE STUDENT

1996-1999 RESIDENT ARTIST at Penland School. During this time I built a catenary arch wood fire kiln and made pots full time, experimenting with local clay & glaze materials. Also began to explore oil painting

1997 Established Shawn Ireland Pottery

Since 1994 Participated in numerous National Exhibitions & Craft Shows including Mint Museum Potters Market, Smithsonian Craft Show, Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, Spruce Pine Potters Market & Demarest Show, NJ

2006-2008 VISITING ARTIST INTERNSHIP: University of Georgia 
I spent three semesters potting and oil painting in beautiful Cortona, Italy

2012 & 2013 STUDIO COORDINATOR: University of Georgia, Cortona, Italy

2015 RESIDENT ARTIST COORDINATOR: Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. Venice, Italy

If you would like to read my full resume, please CLICK HERE for a download

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