In love with Mission Gallery: Deirdre Finnerty

Deirdre Finnerty | 'Vanity Table' 2011
Deirdre Finnerty | 'Vanity Table' 2011

Name: Deirdre Finnerty, or just Dee!

Position at Mission Gallery: Front of House Volunteer

How long have you been at Mission Gallery: About six months

Why did you decide to volunteer? I decided to volunteer to experience how the contemporary applied art and craft scene works. I wanted to understand the role of the gallery, how it operates and what it offers to contemporary artists as it could also be a venue for my work. I also wanted to learn about other artists and what inspires them to make.

I was attracted to the job description too – to be able to learn and develop myself as an artist in a professional working environment no matter what my experience or medium, it seemed like such a great offer!

What do you think of your experience here – what kind of things do you get involved with? I try to get involved with everything! I’d be here all the time if they paid me! But really, I’ve done a lot of things here in my short time. From maintaining the appearance of the craft space, talking to visitors about art and making copious amounts of tea, to setting up exhibitions, writing artist profiles, and drinking copious amounts of tea! Plus, I’ve met a lot of great artists whilst working here such as Becky Adams and Claire Curneen!

What do you do when you’re not at MG? Glass! I’m studying an MA in Glass at the Swansea Metropolitan University. I finished my BA in Architectural Glass last summer so it was an easy way for me to continue my practice. I love traditional stained glass and contemporary glass; Swansea is a great place for that. I also teach stained glass to teenagers at the Saturday Art School. I spend a lot of time in the glass department!

Deirdre Finnerty | Transient
Deirdre Finnerty | 'Transient'
[we really like Deirdre’s work and you can see more of it on her blog]

Other than that – cwtching with my cats, making curries from scratch, playing computer games and shopping!

Has being at Mission Gallery helped with your career development? Definitely. All the staff are so supportive and encouraging! It is great to get the opinions of people who know what is good and what is great. It really has helped me to put my work in to context through seeing what and how other artists make.

Everything I do here is something that I can add to my CV! I’ve recently helped Rhian Haf, the current Maker in Focus, to install her glass work. I helped to prepare the space and installed the work with her – my experience with handling glass helped too! De-installing Reggie’s Roller Palace was a feat in itself in January! But now I know how to pack ceramics for transport; another one for the CV!

Deirdre and fellow volunteer Emma packing up the exhibition, Reggie's Roller Palace
Deirdre and fellow volunteer Emma packing up the exhibition, Reggie's Roller Palace

Being able to put my skills into practice in a gallery has also shown me that I have a lot to offer in a professional working environment, I’d never really considered working in a gallery before but now I definitely would! It’s just so exciting!

What’s been your favourite experience/s at MG so far? Becky Adam’s pocket book workshop was amazing! She is just wonderful though! What else? Annie’s sausage and egg sandwiches! Emma as a backpack! “And stuff”.

Becky Adams | Pocket Book Workshop
Becky Adams | Pocket Book Workshop

Didn’t we see you in the Evening Post recently? Yeah, thanks…I got tricked into that one!

What’s next for you? Well, I am quite busy at the moment preparing applications for competitions in Ireland and the UK, such as the Welsh Artist of the Year, the Eisteddfod and the Glaziers Awards to name but a few. So some of them would be nice please!

I am also writing a proposal for a curatorial opportunity through Mission Gallery (one of the many perks of the job!) in partnership with Jamie Hill for an exhibition in the near future – so watch this space!

Do you love MG? I love, Love, LOVE it!


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