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ABOVE Shibuichi Bowl (copper/silver alloy)
  • LEFT Shakudo bowl (copper/gold alloy)
  • MIDDLE Ritual I - Round vessel 3 legs (Copper)

Coilin O'Dubhghaill

The work of metalsmith Coilin O'Dubhghaill focuses on the exploration of vessel forms in metal through a study of process, materials and colour.  He is particularly interested in looking at ways to relate the use of colour and pattern to the form and construction of his work.  This is largely driven by research into special alloys and patination techniques, a continuation of Doctorate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Japan.  His current work draws on the traditional metalworking techniques of Japan that he learned while a student in Tokyo.  Being one of a handful of westerners to graduate from this establishment, O'Dubhghaill's exploration of technique and form combine a mix of European and Asian perspectives.

The making of his work is a complex balance between production of raw material and finished piece - each alloy bowl is made from metal that is custom cast, uniting two or more types of metals together into a unique alloy and forged by hand using traditional silversmithing hammer techniques.  When the sheet metal is the desired thickness, the work begins on constructing the bowl, again, entirely by hand - the bowl formed over a series of steel stakes until it is raised into the desired shape.  Final finishing and polishing leaves the bowl ready for patination, using traditional Japanese patinas often made from natural plant materials.  The bowls are exposed to the patina solution which reacts with the alloys and highlights in different ways the dispersion of the original metals throughout the alloy.  Much of the joy in making this work comes from this moment; the waiting to see the end pattern come to life in rich colour.

Coilin has exhibited internationally, including exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.  His work is represented in the collections of National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; the Department of Foreign Affairs Collection, Dublin; the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, Edinburgh and the Marzee Collection, the Netherlands.

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