Ronan Lowery

A contemporary maker inspired by the Digital Film Archive

For me, the archive footage inspires themes of storytelling, mark making and identity within the maker’s environment. In last year’s piece I used laser engraving to mark the chair’s surface with distilled images from the footage as a means of telling the story of each maker; their process, tools, product and inspiration. I formed the curves by bent lamination as a response to the traditional method of steam-bending utilised by the bodhran maker and the Lambeg drum makers. This year, I have chosen to continue exploring the concept of mark making and identity with a focus on the story of how I make my mark as a furniture designer/maker.

We are all individual makers, unique in our practice but bound by tradition. This year’s piece examines that sense of individuality and responsibility. Geometry, and particularly geometry in nature, is a major inspiration in my work, so I wanted to somehow embody that sense of nature’s design alongside identity. It seemed only fitting to incorporate the form of a double helix - representative of DNA, identity at a cellular level. I am also fascinated by the process of scorching wood, an ancient Japanese technique known as ‘shou sugi ban’. Through apparent destruction, this process results in the accentuation of the wood’s unique grain structure - it’s ‘fingerprint’ - and serves to protect the surface and strengthen it. I decided to fuse this idea and technique with the double helix as a means of reinforcing both a sense of identity and the idea of evolution and change resulting in something new and distinct.

Ronan Lowery grew up in rural Donegal before moving to Connemara in 2005 to study at the renowned Furniture College at Letterfrack. A fascination for mathematics and geometry is a strong influence in his work; sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle. Material manipulation is also a key inspiration and he enjoys the paradoxical nature these processes sometimes highlight; scorching a surface to enhance resilience, breaking down a single element and reassembling its constituent parts to increase strength. He fosters a close working dialogue with clients and uses this dynamic to shape every individual project.

"For me, a commission is the physical manifestation of a client’s environment and their story. I like the evocative nature of good design, and I strive to achieve this in my work."


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