When did you set up your business and why?

While it has always been a dream of mine to make a living from my creativity, I could never have predicted the path it would take me to get here.

After graduating from art college in 2000, I began working as a production potter before taking up the position of ceramics tutor at Dungarvan College.

For the past 20 years I have loved every minute of teaching, but with a young family it left very little time for me to work on my own ceramics.

When faced with the devastating loss of my son in 2011, I found my way back to clay as a means of healing and grounding myself in a world that felt unfamiliar.

Finding my way back to clay and honouring my innate need to make, has been a gift of stillness to me that I want to share with others who connect with my work.

So as luck would have it, after years of procrastination, I finally built up the courage to register my business on 4 February 2020, just four weeks before the world shut down and a new one opened up for me.

Can you explain your process?

I work in clay to still my mind.

For as far back as I can remember, I loved working with my hands. One of my earliest memories of creating was as a five-year-old, sculpting sand at the beach.

After studying ceramics at college, I began teaching it; always surrounded by and continuously learning about this captivating medium. But when faced with a grief that I could not hold, my want to create turned into a need and everything changed for me.

The only space I could face my new reality was through working in clay. Being able to stop, make and understand the power of being still with me, was the beginning of a new journey of self-discovery and development of my current collection.

This innate desire brought about a different level of creativity. Once I quietened my mind and gave over control to my hands, my deepest thoughts took the form of marks and colours as if a greater force at play.

Formed using the slow and repetitive process of slabbing, coiling, pinching and slip casting, using only my hands and very limited tools, I have full connection with my materials at all stages of production.

I view my method of working as an active form of meditation, allowing the process and the materials to guide me, handing over control to the unpredictable outcomes of what evolves.

I use my forms as a 3D canvas for mark making and colour, layering up washes of underglaze through multiple firings. Each piece that I make has been given the time, attention and love that a beautiful object deserves

Cora Cummins' best seller is her Mind Full Mug

What is your best-seller?

The “Mind Full Mug”.

This product has been a labour of love that took me over three years to develop. I designed this mug when I was at my most vulnerable, as a way to share with others what it felt like to experience the grounding feeling of soft clay.

I have done a lot of work around anxiety and know that the more senses we engage, the calmer and more present we will feel. Using this mug engages all five senses and brings the user back to the present moment.

I love every part of the process of making these mugs. Working slowly, I treat each one as an individual piece of functional art.

It makes me so happy to see the vision that I had for this product has now been brought to fruition. It has taken years of trial and error, tears of frustration and passion to get this to where it is today.

I am so thankful to everyone who has purchased and believed in the concept of this mug since I launched them, and it has been an absolute honour to get feedback on how people are now incorporating them into their daily lives for healing, connection, comfort or just a bit of “me time”.

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

It is an absolute honor that my story resonates with and has inspired others who have been touched by grief to follow their dream.

I have got many messages from people who use or gift my work to a loved one going through a difficult time, and it is humbling to think that I have created something that brings comfort and healing to others.

I am always so thankful to have my ceramics to turn to on days where I feel I really need to escape the pressures of everyday life.

Having a very busy mind, I find it very difficult to be able to just switch off, but the therapeutic benefits of working in clay helps to both ground and energise me at the same time.

What are your hopes for the next year?

I have really exciting plans for the year ahead. For the past four years, I have been dividing my time between my ceramic practice and teaching ceramics in an educational setting.

Since September, I have cut back to just one day, giving me much more time to focus on my own work.

I have also just moved into a new workshop space where I live, in Villlierstown, Co Waterford, where I plan on running creative workshops for adults and children, so it feels like the beginning of a very new and exciting chapter in my career.

What advice would you give to another start-up business?

Work on your self- belief. This was my biggest stumbling block when starting off. I stood in my own way for so long, telling myself that I was not business-minded, not good with numbers, not organised enough.

But what I did have was a passion and creativity that was aching to be recognised, and when I did not acknowledge this it was starting to impact my mental health.

Ask for help, join a creative community, link in with other businesses, outsource work that you cannot do yourself to others. Be prepared to put money into your business, focus on developing one product at a time and do it well. Be yourself, tell your story and connect with your customers.

And to finish with wise words from my dad: "If you love something enough, you will do well at it."

Website: coracumminsceramics.com

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