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Highlight of an Irish Experience

Fungus in Glenbower Woods

It’s spring in Australia now and the days are warm. I have had time to reflect on the recent trip to Ireland. The more I think about it the more it pulls me back……

One of my highlights was spending a special week creating at Greywood Arts in East Cork. The space was comfortable and inspiring because the studio I worked in was an old barracks built in 1767. The owners are Jessica and Hugh.

I had looked at the history of Killeagh and the local nature park called Glenbower Woods before I left Australia and I was excited to start my project.

I imagined that I would be able to map these woods by walking and photographing the woods. I would talk to people who used the woods and create some artwork that responded to the woods. I met some generous local walkers who loved their woods.

Greywood Arts was having a book club meeting during the week I was there, so I read the book called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, an indigenous scientist. This was a beautiful book that spoke about the natural world and the relationship with the rest of the living world.

Our book club get together was held in the woods and we all sat around, some on blankets on the ground and discussed aspects that we liked in the book. We ended our time together by playing a game where we wrote one word best describing the book on a card then passed it to the person next to us to create a sentence with it. We put the finished cards together and read them like a poem. It felt like a full stop to our discussions.

I organised art supplies once I arrived in Ireland so they were waiting for me when I arrived in Killeagh. I began to get to know my surroundings and the other residents of Greywood Arts.

Over the week I experimented with foliage found in the woods and I created dyes and pastes from these leaves. I screen printed shapes onto fabric with the pastes. I also walked the woods listening to the sounds and discovered Fainin's Well & Mass Rock. The history of the woods added to the mapping of Killeagh.

I enjoyed the experience of being totally absorbed in my art practice and will definitely

visit Ireland again.

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