Miss Connolly was a designer of
"Had Tommy Daly been alive at the time European princes patronized the arts, he would surely have received a Royal warrant; most notably from France, where decorative china had reached a high level of design and was much sought after. Marie Antoinette, princes of the blood, and members of the aristocracy (such as the Duc d'Angouleme at rue de Bondy) were actively involved in the design and manufacture of fine china.
The flowering of the decorative arts reached a peak in the eighteenth century. Now, toward the end of the twentieth century, only a select few practice the most delicate, most skilled, and most precise of the craft, the weaving of china baskets and the making of china flowers. Up-to-date methods of pottery production have ensured that certain processes can be partially automated, but each woven basket and each flower made by Celtic Weave China, even when produced to a common design, has to be individually crafted entirely by hand.
Celtic Weave China is a family affair. Tommy's grandfather and his father spent all their working lives at the Belleek Potteries, as did Tommy, until 1985, when he decided to form his own pottery. Adrian, Tommy's son, had more or less decided to study architecture, when , as a summer job, he went into the pottery's workshop. By the end of six weeks working there he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was what he wanted most to do, and so he became the fourth generation of the Daly family to work at this craft.
As a young man Tommy had become impatient at the lack of new designs which were emerging from Belleek. His ambition was to produce a collection of baskets and floral items which would be unique in both design and material. ..... I sat down and watched Tommy, his deft fingers working at lighting speed, make from a ball of clay a glorious assembly of flowers -roses, carnations, lilies-of-the-valley, morning glories. One can only watch and wonder at such a gift. Even at the height of their success, the china factories in Sevres, Chantilly, and Vincennes could not have surpassed in beauty the flowers taking shape before me in this workshop in a remote corner of Ireland."
Extract from IRISH HANDS by Sybil Connolly