On December the 14th the Creative Killeagh artists paid a visit to Glenbower Woods to see the Síle na Gigh and Aghadoe House. This was the second in a series of walks with members of the Killeagh-Inch Historical Group. Thank you to Neville and Seán for bringing us on the excursion.
All set up for the W O O D S H O P Rocking Chair Workshop with Léann Herlihy.
Léann explained a rocking chair could be something far beyond the traditional chair with rockers one imagines. It could even be you sitting on the floor, or something that only carries a feather, or……. Without too much direction, everyone dove right in, with Léann providing assistance and guidance where required. The room was abuzz with creativity. We paused only for homemade chocolate chip cookies and top ups of tea & coffee.
The amazing interpretations of the rocker: The Body Rocker, a rocker for two, a “uni” rocker, the non-functional but beautiful rocker.
Stay tuned for great video from the workshop & Léann’s artist talk with local Patsy Irwin, who worked here at Greywood during its sawmill days.
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself, and the lead artists for the community project portion of Creative Killeagh. I’m Jessica Bonenfant Coogan, director of Greywood Arts.
Greywood Arts is the three story house next to the bridge, across the river from the Old Thatch. In addition to being my home, it is a place where artists come to stay while working on projects – anything from painting, sculpture, and photography to dance, theatre, music, and writing. We also create events and workshops for the local community. I came to Ireland from New York City, where I directed a dance company for many years. I have worked as an arts administrator and with students in university dance and theatre programs. I will be coordinating the Creative Killeagh project.
Let me introduce the lead artists:
- Lisa Cahill is a dancer and educator, originally from Limerick and now residing in Cork. A former primary teacher, she pursued her passion for dance. She was Dance Artist in Residence at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University from 2014 to 2016.
- Carol Anne Connolly makes work that that reimagines or represents ideas pertaining to contemporary landscapes and environments. She studied sculpture, but her approach to making work develops interdisciplinary, socially engaged and collaborative projects. She has worked with diverse communities and individuals including ghost estate residents, physicists, NGOs, farmers, poets, copyright law academics and music producers.
- Kara Sweeney is an East Cork native and an honours graduate of media production. She works as a freelance producer of film, video and photography. She has extensive experience in short film, documentary, music videos and commercial projects. Kara also teaches filmmaking and photography workshops, frequently working with young filmmakers.
Last week, we all went for a walk in Glenbower Wood, the original site for May Day celebrations. We were joined by Killeagh Historical Group’s George Fogarty and Neville Dent, who generously shared their vast knowledge about the wood’s rich history. We spent a few hours absorbing the natural beauty of the Killeagh’s greatest asset, as well as the tidbits of history hidden within the trees. We even saw a badger’s den and a holy well. George and Neville pointed out where previous May Sunday dancing would have happened, and where the lake used to be.
The following week, representatives from various organizations around Killeagh came together at Greywood Arts to discuss the Creative Killeagh Project. Representatives from Killeagh-Inch Community Council, Killeagh-Inch 2020, the Monday Club, the Killeagh Choir, Killeagh Scouts, Glenbower Woods Association, and local volunteers joined the lead artists for a conversation about what their groups do, and what the Creative Killeagh programming might look like. It was a fantastic opportunity for the artists and groups to get to know each other.
People happily shared their memories of May Sundays past, and told us about the music in the Wood event that used to happen in August. Many ideas for Creative Killeagh were discussed! From music and dancing in Glenbower Wood, to art and movement workshops, to documentaries and exhibitions – creative and fun community activities will certainly abound!
These meetings were great first steps in creating Creative Killeagh. We are very appreciative that so many have shared their valuable time with us!
- The community project artists will continue their research about Killeagh through November and December.
- Events, workshops, etc. will be scheduled in 2018.
- A festival day will be held on May Sunday, the 6th of May.
We are eager to hear your stories, histories, and ideas. If you would like to meet the artists, or have them visit your community group, simply contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, the first artist-in-residence, Léann Herlihy, has just arrived at Greywood Arts and is preparing for W O O D S H O P, which includes an artist talk, family workshops, and a performance on Halloween. The 31st will also mark the Creative Killeagh programme launch! Info here.
W O O D S H O P is a collaborative art project that explores craft and social values. Motivated by the materials, skills, and practices of Killeagh’s former sawmills, Irish artist Léann Herlihy will lead craftsmanship workshops and create a performance.
Location: Greywood Arts, Main St. Killeagh.
ARTIST TALK & SCREENING:
Thursday 26th October 2017, 7PM
Held in the relaxed environment of the Greywood Arts library, Léann Herlihy will lead a conversation around her artist practice. Here, she will give us an insight into her thought process, as she discusses her concepts and motives while creating work – a fantastic opportunity!
The evening will close with a screening of one of David Shaw-Smith’s unique documentaries, HANDS. Shaw-Smith’s captures traditional rural and urban life in Ireland during the seventies and eighties, imbued by a sense of urgency to record crafts in their natural surroundings before they disappeared completely.
Saturday, 28th October 2017, 2 – 5PM
Monday, 30th October 2017, 10AM – 1PM
W O O D S H O P will consist of two separate workshops, held in the spacious art studio at Greywood Arts. The workshops will give the basic outlines of how to construct a rocking chair, but encourage creativity and spontaneous thinking. The assemblage of chairs will be safe and supervised, with the main joining method being similar to a jig-saw puzzle, with each puzzle piece having endless possibilities to create new and abstract forms of rocking chairs. Safety equipment will be provided, with each individual kitted out as a professional carpenter! This collection of rocking chairs will be exhibited at the Creative Killeagh Programme Launch, with each individual’s signature on their artwork as a memoir to their creativity.
It is not necessary to attend both workshops, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun, tea and cakes if you can make both! We welcome families and individuals of all ages (1-100 years!). Construction will be child-friendly, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
PERFORMANCE & CREATIVE KILLEAGH LAUNCH:
Tuesday, 31st October 2017
To end the artist-in-residence programme, Léann Herlihy will realise a performance on Halloween night, in conjunction with the programme launch of Creative Killeagh. Herlihy’s performance will explore the ritual of rocking, incorporating the rocking chairs made during the workshops prior to the performance. This will be an interactive performance, where the artist will encourage audience participation.
Join us after trick-or-treating for traditional Halloween festivities, with campfires and treats! This will be a fun and intriguing evening for the entire family as we kick off a series of community arts events which will culminate on May Sunday, 2018.
Léann Herlihy is a performance artist based in Ireland. Her practice attends to the intersection of invisible power structures; addressing the position of the female body as a focal point of repressed histories and political desires. Herlihy’s performances are raw, as she pares back her gestures to pure bodily instinct and improvisation. The use of endurance in Herlihy’s practice highlights the exaggerated protraction of time, all of which becomes enhanced by the symbiotic relationship with the audience; where the very act of their continued observation, in itself becomes a ritualised behaviour.
On Friday 15th September we were invited to County Hall for the announcement of the Cork County Municipal Districts Creative Communities Awards. We met the other recipients, Cork County’s Arts Officer Ian McDonagh, selection panel chair Cllr. Danielle Twomey (from East Cork) and the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Declan Hurley. The enthusiasm for our project was genuine and the excitement palpable. We are so grateful for the support!
Greywood Arts was delighted to be joined by representatives of the Killeagh-Inch Community Council. It is so important to show that a project like this truly has the support of the local community, so we really appreciate Mary and Irene taking the time out of their busy day to represent Killeagh at the funding awards.
We are all pictured above with Cllr Twomey (far left). Below, Jessica from Greywood Arts chats with Mayor Cllr Hurley about the Creative Killeagh project.
We are also delighted to announce receipt of a Creative Ireland grant for 1,000€ towards the first artist-in-the-community residency of the Creative Killeagh Programme! A big thanks to Conor Nelligan of Cork County’s Heritage department for all his work as Cork’s Creative Ireland liaison. You can read about the 6 East Cork projects funded here.
Photo Credits: Claire Keogh & Megan Meier