Frances Lambe

Frances Lambe
1 Biosphere
Stoneware clay on granite plinth
Purchased from Microcosmos, an exhibition at The Basement Gallery in 2010.
2 Moonsphere
Stoneware clay on granite plinth
Purchased from the 2005 annual Bridge Street Studios exhibition.
3 Moss Garden
Stoneware clay & felted wool
35 x 35 x 20 cm
Purchased from the Going Green exhibition at The Louth County Museum in 2008.

Frances Lambe is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She taught Art at Second Level for several years before concentrating on her practice on a full-time basis. She is a founder member of Bridge Street Studios Dundalk. She has been the recipient of a number of awards, has exhibited widely and her work is held in a number of collections including those of The Ulster Museum, The National Museum of Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Read an interview with this artist here:

How did you begin your career as an artist?

I studied art education at college and was introduced to a variety of different art media, which I enjoyed. Soon after starting teaching at second level my husband got the opportunity to work in the US. I took a career break and had the opportunity to study ceramics and drawing for a brief time at a college in Connecticut. I think that the seeds were sown then to pursue my own art practice. After teaching art at second for several years, I was one of a group of local art teachers who wanted to develop their own work and we decided to take part in a series of art exhibitions titles ‘Those who can do…..’ these exhibitions sought to challenge the phrase which usually concludes – and those who can’t teach! We organized a workspace and began life sketch classes. I set up a workspace at home, took a career break. The focus on my work increased and I became a founder member of Bridge Street Studios in 1996.

What factors were important in helping you decide to make that your full-time profession?

Responding to the urge/compulsion to create, to communicate through a visual medium and the fulfillment that comes from being able to work at something that you are passionate about.

What kinds of challenges have you faced in your career?
One of the most difficult decisions of my life was the decision to stop teaching to pursue my own practice. I really enjoyed the engagement with the talented students that I had the privilege to teach. The future was full of uncertainties and self-doubt.It was difficult to create a workspace and to evolve an effective work routine. It was also difficult to balance family life and pursue my own artwork. Lots of trial and error and the crucial support of my family and my Bridge Street colleagues supported the development of my practice.
Every exhibition is a challenge, which I take very seriously. It can be difficult to reach to a series of deadlines. Making work for high-end curated shows at home and abroad is stressful, but I enjoy the challenge of making work for different gallery spaces and working with different professional curators and it has been an education. The medium of ceramics has its own ways to keep you humble. Failure is part of the journey.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of making art as a profession?

To stop talking about it and just do it. Each piece of work you make will point the way forward.

How you do keep your profile visible?
I have a website and I have been lucky that the exhibitions that I have taken part in have generated some media attention. My focus is on making the best work possible.

Can you tell us about the works you have in our collection?
Having pieces purchased for the Louth Local Authorities’ collections has been very affirming for my practice as a visual artist. Moonsphere was the first piece that I had purchased for a public collection and this was a significant milestone in my progress as an artist. It helped to dispel some of my self-doubt and gave me the confidence to pursue future opportunities.

Moonsphere was made when I was beginning to find my voice as a visual artist. It is a piece which links to influences from a number of different areas of interest including astronomy, botany and sea life. Moss Garden was made for the ‘Going Green’ curated exhibition organised by the Louth County Enterprise Board. This piece was made in the same year as I had my first opportunity to exhibit abroad at Sofa Chicago with the Crafts Council of Ireland’s National Craft Gallery and Biosphere was made for my first solo exhibition ‘Microcosmos’ which was co-commissioned by the Basement Gallery and MCAC Millennium Court Arts Centre.
All of these pieces have been inspired by my interest in a variety of different sources of inspiration including astronomy, botany, sea life, geology and geometry. My work is informed by engagement with and research into my local environment. Each piece marks a significant point in my artistic journey and each piece adds to a deeper understanding of the potential of the visual medium of ceramics.

Tell us a little about your current practice.

My practice is focused on exhibiting in curated exhibitions in Ireland and overseas. My work is increasingly in demand and I now have the problem of not being able to respond to all of the requests for work that come my way.
My work is included in a number of public and private collections including the Louth County Collection, NMI, Ulster Museum, Department of Foreign Affairs and the OPW. I have had the opportunity of exhibiting in the US ( Chicago and NY), Liverpool, Paris, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Find out more about this artist here: