Down County Museum has just opened a new exhibition which features the ceramic work of local man, the late Willie Taggart.
From Downpatrick, Willie Taggart was a builder by trade. He had a lively interest in all aspects of local history and culture and was involved in various sporting initiatives in the local area.
Later in his life he developed an interest in pottery and taught himself the basics of pottery making. As his interest and skills developed, he built his own kiln adjacent to his home on the Saul Road and established ‘Saul Pottery’.
Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, said: “This exhibition presents a very interesting account of one local craftsperson and illustrates the breadth of artistic endeavour across our community.
“I am sure all those who remember Willie Taggart and Saul Pottery will be delighted to see his work highlighted by the Museum and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit this fascinating and colourful exhibition”.
Completely self-taught, he experimented with shapes, colours and glazes and made a wide range of decorative and domestic objects. He also made a large number of objects inspired by the Christian heritage of Downpatrick and Saul and was particularly inspired by the story of St Patrick.
Willie made numerous ceramic pieces based on the statue of Patrick on Sliabh Patrick, and the panels placed around the base of the statue, as well as many models of the memorial church at Saul.
Many of his pieces were given to family and friends but he also sold pieces to local people and visitors to the area. The exhibition at the Down County Museum has been developed in collaboration with members of Willie’s family and local man John Killen who has a great interest in the story of Saul Pottery.
The exhibition is an example of the rich artistic and craft skills in the local community in the past and today, and is designed to raise awareness of the contribution amateur artists and craftspeople make to local culture.
The exhibition will run at Down County Museum until summer 2018.
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