Monday, August 2, 2010

We came to the island. We looked at a tree.

This is a piece written for The Sherkin News Letter about the Sherkin Project
This newsletter is produced by Karen Mould and Sue Cahalane, and published by SIDS.

We came to the island. We looked at a tree.
Sherkin Sculpture John Mayock & students

It wasn’t quite what we had anticipated. Even though most of us had been here before and we knew more or less what to expect. Or so we thought....
In fairness, we came to the job with no preconceptions of what we were gong to do, brought no notions previously arrived at, intending to impose nothing on the place that was inappropriate to the setting, to create something that was fitting to the place and to it’s people.
We talked for hours with an image of that tree in our heads, coming up with dozens of ideas and then... we started working......
The ideas changed. They evolved and eventually became something else. The weather went with us and came against us, but always we could count on the extraordinary support of islanders - The provision of a base camp, the cutting of extraneous branches in incredible circumstances; power, sleepers, trestles, ladders, tools and materials we hadn’t brought with us.......
We talked to people and we embraced the place, (maybe, it embraced us). We came eventually to the possibility of examining the difference between looking and seeing, between the eye and the camera, between the casual experience of a place and actually knowing the place and the people who live there.
In two weeks and given a very large tree, we were limited in what we could do while achieving something of significance. It was very important to us that we use all the skills and talents at our disposal. Combining the abilities of drawers, painters, printers, installation artists and sculptors and the use of local knowledge was central to our intention from the outset.
We cut, ground, drew, photographed, carved, videoed, painted, sang, sanded, talked, disagreed, reconsidered, worried, talked more, agreed, made music, climbed ladders, drilled, and eventually........
A very big tree became something else.
There was also much laughter.............
With thanks to the people of Sherkin,
Lisa Heavey, Dylan Lennon, John Mayock, Elanor McCaughey, Fergal O’Mahoney, Sarah Standing.
Commissioned by SIDS and funded by DIT, Department of Art, Design and Printing.

The Sherkin Project

We finally finished the tree. After the carving of the form was finished we embedded the painted mirrors and the end result was what we had hoped for. The paintings on the mirrors acted as reflections of the surrounding landscape of the island.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Final additions

After The exhibition, it was back to work! The days were slipping by fast and there was much work to be done. The holes in the tree needed to be finished and the mirrors needed to be painted for the final addition to our sculpture.

Finished Sculpture piece photos to follow..


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


First piece is a wood carving with rusty nails inserted along the grain. The log belongs to the Sherkin Project tree, a branch from the tree aged 35 years. Entitled 35'

Second piece was an Animation projected onto the wall of the gallery of The Native Irish wildflower Ribworth Plantain, it is overlooked by many even though the Sherkin Island landscape is covered with them. I wanted to capture the subtle movement of it blowing in the wind. Entitled Slanlus



this piece came from a project based on patterns in nature and the environment, in which I mainly looked at and used the flight patterns of birds and the scale at which flocks work as a group. The piece is made up of 27 prints hung from the ceiling, slightly curving towards the corner, the piece follows a slight curved pattern based on a flock of starlings