Mary Wallace Contemporary Irish artist


Well, for me inspiration comes from ordinary everyday things; a simple tea bowl, the Moon, a flower, a hen, a fish ... to create exquisite tea bowls with golden cracks, majestic moon jars with golden seams, exotic fruit, flamboyant hens & cockerels and other creatures.

Have you heard of kintsugi, wabi sabi, ikebana?   How do these concepts relate to a contemporary Irish artist?


Currently, my work explores ideas inspired by the Japanese perception of beauty in imperfection, complexity in simple things and extraordinary in the everyday.  Deeply imbued with symbolism and meaning - strength, and fragility, resilience, beauty, the preciousness of life: I want to convey hope and a reassurance that things will be better.

Intrigued by Japanese culture, my work is influenced by concepts like wabi sabi (acceptance of transience and imperfection) and kintsugi (repair of broken porcelain using gold). Precious Bowls and Moonjars evoke the idea that although broken and mended, their intrinsic beauty remains, the flaw is enhanced, given respect, and preciousness restored.  These ideas have universal appeal and as a contemporary Irish artist I want to share what I have discovered with you in a visual way. Read more.

Recently my work has taken a new direction as I bring organic elements to my vessel paintings: trembling willow leaves, delicate and ephemeral cherry blossoms give the work a surreal quality. This is ikebana, is the art of making cut flowers live. Read more. 


Repair of broken porcelain using gold. In Japan the break is integral to the object and the imperfection is valued as part of its history. By using gold the flaw is not hidden but is given respect and the preciousness of the piece is enhanced. 

wabi sabi

Beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, reflected in the philosophical idea of embracing beauty in imperfection, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life: thus we are strengthened and become more beautiful. The patina of age a measure of one's life experiences.


Literally means 'making flowers alive'. This is the Japanese art of arranging blossoms, branches, leaves and stems to accentuate their inner qualities and express emotion.


Being an Irish artist I like to keep my own heritage close too.  Many of my paintings are inspired by Celtic mythology and have symbolic meaning.  Native trees, especially those like hazel and willow which have blossoms or catkins on bare branches, have grabbed my attention.  Imagine my delight this Spring when I discovered native cherry trees growing in my own garden!  A revelation that will spur me on. I couldn't wait to see it in fruit...

Deora Dé A kintsugi bowl painting



Would you like to hear a little about the unusual art materials I use?   I relish using ancient art medium like wax encaustic, egg tempera, gold. Sumptuous pigments suspended in beeswax paired with pure gold makes for an opulent visual experience don't you think?

Using beeswax creates a translucence in my work which I love.  It is almost as if the light is within the painting as colours glow through layer upon layer. 

Working with gold leaf is such a delicate affair. It requires patience and practice to place that filigree just as you want it.    Sometimes I feel it has a mind of its own as the gentlest breath can cause it to flicker and fly away!

It is so hard to believe I have been painting for over twenty years now. Gosh!           

                                                           November 2022