Ireland boasts a small but talented coterie of craftspeople and Michael Roche of Kiltrea Bridge pottery, a well-established and gifted potter, is a member of this select group.
Michael and his wife Johanna, who has a background in textiles and weaving, met in Finland but moved to Ireland in 1980 to establish their studio in an area that boasts a proud tradition of pottery-making that can be traced back to 1654. Kiltrea is in an idyllic spot and sits nestled on the banks of the River Urrin, close to the bustling market town of Enniscorthy in County Wexford. Kiltrea Pottery is one of the few remaining studios that use native Irish clay for all of their products. The clay recipe used to craft all Kiltrea products has been a closely-guarded secret for over 30 years.
Michael and his wife Johanna
Kiltrea pottery is light years away from the machine-made and the mass-produced. Kitchenware is quietly understated, restrained, and elegant while garden pieces exhibit clean, robust and enduring lines. Michael and his team of local craftspeople produce products that grace glamorous kitchens, enchanting patios and both private and public gardens throughout Ireland and the World.
Stephen finishing off a Kiltrea Pitcher
Kiltrea pottery is distinctive: Michael’s creations are instantly and possess fluidity, grace and honesty of form. However, as is often the case with anything that looks straightforward, Michael’s work reflects a maker who has immense technical skill and a keen understanding of the material he uses.
Michael’s work displays incredible attention to detail and showcases the sheer organic beauty of the clay he works with; clay which is processed on-site in Kiltrea from raw materials sourced locally in Wexford and from counties Cavan, Cork and Tipperary. Michael researches and experiments with his own unique blends to produce a clay that is of a superior quality, durability and strength.
The Kiltrea Stand at a trade fair
A great way to show off food
Kiltrea Pottery has one of the largest kiln ovens in Ireland
Speed and skill are needed to get the perfect finish
All products are made by hand on a traditional potters wheel
Ready for glazing