South Wales Potters

Christy Keeney

Working in clay stirred Christy Keeney’s curiosity for the three dimensional possibilities it presented, and when he realised his feeling for art could be achieved in clay he was hooked. 

Christy Keeney’s journey began when he attended the technical college in his home town of Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland, and a work placement in a pottery on the north west coast of Donegal. He was eager to further pursue his art, and entered Limerick College of Art at the age of 22. Here he swiftly moved away from functional pottery to begin his exploration into figurative ceramic sculpture. The themes he worked on throughout his time at college in Limerick were inspired by the characters he encountered on the streets, and in the pubs around town.

After graduating and a year spent as a potter in Connemara, County Galway, Keeney decided to make a leap and accepted the offer of a place to study for an MA, in Ceramic Sculpture at the Royal College of Art London. Despite the bustle of the metropolitan life he was plunged into by contrast to the year he had spent in the Connemara country side, he managed to retain an honesty in all the work he made.  

Once he had the RCA MA under his belt, he found a kiln and tiny studio space in the Elephant and Castle, from where he ventured into making work for select galleries in London. The Elephant and Castle studio had provided a stepping stone for setting up in London. Eventually he found a more suitable studio space which he shared with two potters in Clapham, where part of the rent included teaching evening pottery classes.

In 1992 he married, and in 1994 with the birth of his daughter and an invitation to exhibit at the Earth and Fire Ceramic Fair in Nottingham, he began to make the kind of work we now recognise as a ‘Christy Keeney’. Earth and Fire provided another stepping stone when he was discovered by galleries eager to stock his work. Twenty five years later, and he still exhibits at Earth and Fire and supplies many of those original galleries. Christy Keeney is now well established as a Figurative Ceramic Sculptor, and continues to supply galleries mostly in the UK and Europe with his ever evolving repertoire of ceramic figurative art.