Saul Pottery: The Ceramics of Willie Taggart

Down County Museum has just opened a new exhibition which features the ceramic work of local man Willie Taggart.
From Downpatrick, the late Willie Teggart was a builder by trade. He had a lively interest in all aspects of local history and culture and was involved in various sporting initiatives in the local area. Later in his life he developed an interest in pottery and taught himself the basics of pottery making. As his interest and skills developed he built his own kiln adjacent to his home on the Saul Road in Downpatrick.
Completely self taught, he experimented with shapes, colours and glazes and made a wide range of decorative and domestic objects.  He also made a large number of objects inspired by the Christian heritage of Downpatrick and Sau,l and was particularly inspired by the story of St Patrick. He made numerous ceramic pieces based on the statue of Patrick on Sliabh Patrick, and the panels placed around the base of the statue, as well as many models of the memorial church at Saul.
Many of his pieces were given to family and friends but he also sold pieces to local people and visitors the area. The exhibition at the museum has been developed in collaboration with members of Willie’s family who have loaned pieces for display and local man John Killen who has a great interest in the story of Saul Pottery which Willie established. The exhibition is an example of the artistic and craft skills in the local community in the past and today, and is designed to raise awareness of the contribution amateur artists and craftspeople make to local culture.
The Chairperson of Newry. Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said ‘This exhibition presents a very interesting account of one local craftsperson and illustrates the breadth of artistic endeavour across our community. I am sure all those who remember Willie Taggart and Saul Pottery will be delighted to see his work highlighted by the Museum and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit this fascinating and colourful exhibition.’