SPOTLIGHT: This artist is inspired by one of Dublin’s natural wonders

Sonya Kinch shares what inspires her to create her unique sculptures

I went for a run on Brittas Beach with Sonya Kinch recently. The sun was shining despite the frigid day, and the low light of the morning caused a fantastic golden glow on the waves. Sonya paused before we began our jog to capture the moment on her camera, not for Instagram, but for inspiration.

I’ve always been fascinated by what inspires an artist. It’s a magical moment and I felt privileged observing Sonya’s awe at the ocean scene. The sea holds a special draw for Sonya, and this is reflected in her art across all the mediums she uses. 

“The sea and the beach predominantly provide me with inspiration. I never get tired of the sea; it’s my absolute favourite place to be”

Sonya Kinch with "Tidal Pools"
Sonya Kinch with “Tidal Pools”

Her love of the Irish coast is captured poignantly in her recent collections. “Seascapes in Porcelain” which was first exhibited in The Gallery, Dalkey in February 2017. This collection was followed shortly by “Tidal Pools” which was shown in Dun Laoghaire as part of the harbour bicentennial celebrations, later that year. 

But what drives her to create? 

“Creating is just part of who I am. My mind is always creating, design and making when I can.”

This drive to create has been a part of who is Sonya as long as she can remember. 

“I’ve always made art. As early as I could draw, make, create, use a scissors…I remember going with my older sister to a pottery class my mum was going to. We were each given a ball of clay and told to make a squirrel.” Sonya laughs, “Mine had a very textured tail.”

Texture is important in Sonya’s work. One of her key mediums, porcelain clay, gives her huge scope to add delicate features that remind one of rockpools and coral. Sonya attended the National College of Art and Design, where she “fell in love with ceramics.”

“I loved the ceramic studio, the kiln room, the glazing room, the plaster room. I loved the hands on, physical aspect of working with the material. I love the feel of smooth clay under my hands, the slab of clay that falls when cut with wire cutters…” Sonya pauses, clearly lost in thought. “It’s so satisfying.”

Passion seems to be a core part of creativity. Passion helps when creativity seems just out of reach, and gives one the drive to keep going, even when you hit a wall. But for Sonya, that wall never comes.

“I don’t really ever hit a wall. I have too many ideas and not enough time! However, within a project, if I can’t figure out a technical aspect to a piece, or how to realise my actual design, that’s when I go back to sketching the design to solve the problem.”  

Back to the beach. Our jog is short, and cold, but exhilarating. Completely taken with the beauty of the ocean, Sonya suggests a swim. It’s probably about 5 degrees, but her exuberance is infectious, and we take the dive, in our running gear and all. I later learn that the inspiration that day caused her to paint this scene in acrylic.  

Brittas Bay Painting in Acrylic
Brittas Bay Painting in Acrylic

The sea clearly has a hold on her, but where else does she get her ideas from?

“Inspiration comes from everywhere, nature, flowers, a documentary on a designer, an article about beautiful interiors, forms in an IKEA kitchen…”

Sonya hopes to inspire the next generation and is Head of Art in a prominent school in South County Dublin. 

“I like to tap into the students’ creativity. I believe we all have the gift of creativity, and we just need someone to help tease it out; give us confidence. I like being able to help students with that.

Save the Date

Sonya’s work speaks for itself. She has just been selected to exhibit at The Botanic Gardens’ 11th annual Sculpture in Context exhibition which runs from 6th to 19th of October. Sonya kindly shared a sneak preview of the piece she is working on. She couldn’t share more.

A sneak preview of Sonya's submission to the Botanic Gardens Sculpture in Context exhibition
A sneak preview of Sonya’s submission to the Botanic Gardens Sculpture in Context exhibition

Sonya will also be exhibiting in collaboration with Filament Fibre Artists at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, August, 2018.

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Words by: Sasha Kinch