At her family farm in Aghadowey, Coleraine, Caroline McCahon of Dernagross Designs uses the local farmland as the inspiration behind her handmade ceramic gifts.
Dernagross Designs began in 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown when Caroline received some gentle encouragement from her husband which gave her the motivation to use the extra time at home to kickstart her creative venture.
“I think lockdown gave me the push and let my ideas flow to start Dernagross Designs when we were forced to stay at home.
I had more time at home, but I wasn’t sure what to make so my husband suggested going down the farming route” She said.
By day, Caroline puts her degree in Contemporary Applied Art into practice teaching Art and Design in a local grammar school which she says is often the source of inspiration for her own work through the experimentation which takes place in class.
With a specialism in ceramics and a unique work experience in Denmark at a ceramics studio for international artists, Caroline is a highly skilled clay crafter.
“I love working with the diverse material of clay as it can be manipulated in so many ways. Often I start to make something and then it changes into something else, I’m sure other makers can relate.”
Caroline’s ceramic designs are mainly farm inspired animals such as sheep, cow and Highland cow which all have a significant personal meaning to her.
“The Friesian cow artwork is for my Dad who is a dairy farmer. The Sheep artwork is for my husband representing the many sheep he looks after. Lastly, the highland cow framed piece is for my best friend who has several highland cows in the hills of Donegal.”
Looking ahead to next year, Caroline hopes to expand her work into other areas within the farming theme but for now, Caroline enjoys the escapism from the monotony of daily life that creating ceramics brings.
For anyone looking to get started, Caroline urges them to ‘just take it a step at a time’ and to experiment ideas with friends and family for feedback.
Caroline’s work can be seen at The Designerie in Bushmills which she describes as ‘a haven of arty goodness’ which has an exciting atmosphere for any craft lover’
The Designerie also stocks Dernagross Designs which can be purchasedonline or in store.