About DANU Ceramics
Hi, I'm Ruth, the owner and maker behind DANU Ceramics.
I graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2011 and set up DANU in 2015. I've been based in Dublin, Ireland my whole life. I design and create each piece using a wide range of techniques like hand-building, glass fusion and slab-work. I love experimenting with different clays, glazes and materials, such as 22k gold, mother of pearl and glass. No piece is ever identical.
I've recently started collecting and selling stunning work created by other artisans from around the world - such as gold and lapis jewellery from Afghanistan, agate from Brazil, glass beads from Ghana and Ethiopia, and amazing ornaments created by refugees (a UN initiative). Follow me to see what else I find!
My inspiration comes from travel, nature and my home country of Ireland. Myself and my partner spend lots of time carefully styling each photo. Everytime we travel, we collect beautiful, unusual props from local craftspeople to use in our photography - copper spoons from Lhasa, Tibet, pottery from Takayama, Japan, brassware and textiles from Varanasi, India and carvings from Flores, Indonesia. I hope when people browse the store they feel that they are going on a journey. Check out the stories behind each product.
My mission is to create small batch, affordable, quality pieces that will last. I believe that ethical craft can be easily attainable. My pieces retain their exclusivity not as a result of high prices, rather, because they are not mass produced. Our jewellery boxes are made from recycled kraft paper. We use corrugated cardboard instead of plastic bubble wrap, and recycled delivery boxes picked up from local shops.
I love to hand-deliver shop orders to my stockists in Dublin city, stopping in for a chat and bumping into other designers and small business owners. Businesses with a strong environmental conscience that perform eco-friendly practices have fewer employees, less waste and a lower turnover than bigger businesses. Small businesses are the future and are inherently more eco-friendly, without all the greenwashing of massive corporations.
I believe that objects created from clay should retain a natural quality, showing appreciation of the integrity of natural objects and processes, with evidence of being made by human hands. Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is an ancient philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism. It is a Japanese aesthetic that values the imperfect, the handmade and the simple. It connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. As a reformed perfectionist, this quote resonates with me: 'Accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality, is something not unlike freedom.'' -Richard Powell, author of 'Wabi Sabi Simple: Create beauty. Value imperfection. Live deeply' (2004).
About the goddess Danu
Danu was the ancient Celtic Goddess of earth and creativity and the Hindu Goddess of water - 3 elements which are fundamental to the creation of ceramics. It is believed that the two Goddesses have the same origin, from when the Vedic people of South Asia traded and interacted with the Celts of Western Europe. Many waterways around Europe and Asia have been named after Danu, such as the Danube river in Germany and the Danu river in Nepal. Ancient peoples from Western Europe and South Asia referred to themselves as Children of Danu. In Ireland, they were called the Tuatha Dé Danann (the people/tribe of the goddess Danu).