Words Edel Cassidy
An 18th-century farmhouse halfway between Cork and Kinsale on the south coast of Ireland is not exactly where you would expect to find a hub of innovation for makers from all over the world. However, it is here at his ancestral home in Fartha that Joseph Walsh established his studio and workshop when he was just twenty years old. Self-taught, apart from a few skills he picked up from his grandfather as a boy, he is a designer and maker whose work reflects his passion for expression through material and form.
From monumental-scale sculptures to one-of-a-kind site-specific commissions, every piece within Walsh’s dynamic body of work reveals an intuitive relationship with making, a sympathetic use of materials and an expressive engagement with form. Between the studio, workshop and gallery he maintains a workforce of about twenty that includes local talent and artisans who have trained at the renowned school of Furniture Design and Wood Technology in ATU, Letterfrack, County Galway, as well as the famous Japanese woodworking school, Shinrin Takumi Juku.
From the outset, Joseph Walsh has approached innovation through traditional techniques, often in other craft forms, enabling new methods of making to create the truly bold and expressive forms for which he is known today, and which are realised in an ever-widening range of materials, including wood, resin, marble and bronze.