SILVA was the third installment of Lay of the Land’s annual outdoor residency & exhibition and took place at Knockomagh Woods Nature Reserve overlooking Lough Hyne near Skibereen in Cork. Over 2 weeks myself and the 3 other artists: Clare Henderson, Kari Cahill and Hazel Mc Cague immersed ourselves in the beauty of the ancient forest to create site responsive sculptural installations. The project was documented by Felippe Lopes. Here is a list of works I created during the residency:

McCarthy’s Cottage

Dimensions: 4m x 5m / Materials: Yellow builders twine

A new roof was created for the ruin of McCarthy’s cottage by connecting the tops of the remaining walls with the tree that grows in the centre of it with string. The bright yellow lines were held in place with the original stones from the walls that lay on the ground around the cottage. The lines spiralled out from the tree and in certain light gave the appearance of sun rays.

Zipline 1

Dimensions: 30m / Materials: Paracord, recycled materials from Union Hall harbour, carabiners.

Visitors first encountered The Zipline close to the beginning of the trail up the hill. They would see a piece of coloured material sliding above them on the path and stopping at a tree on the other side. The ‘thing’ would have started it’s journey about 30 meters further up the hill with another visitor who took it from a bucket and placed it on the Zipline.

Zipline 2

Dimensions: 10m / Materials: Paracord, recycled rubber rings from fishing nets from Union Hall harbour.

The second Zipline crossed a hairpin turn in the path up the hill. A wooden sign invited visitors to take a   rubber ring from a bucket, tie it on the line with yellow cord and let go. The rubber ring sailed down through the trees, across the path below and landed with a bunch of rings already collected in the tree above the path. The rubber rings were recycled from old fishing nets from Union Hall harbour.

March of the Conkers

Dimensions: 8m / Materials: natural twine, 2x pulleys, conkers / horse chestnuts

To one side of the clearing, a path cuts through the hill and leads up to an elevated area. Here I later discovered are what are called The Druids Stones. The cut or path creates a kind of little valley and so I was inspired to connect both sides. I attached a simple pulley to a tree on either side and connected them with natural twine. I chose to tie freshly fallen, but still in their spikey shells, conkers to the line. Visitors were invited to move the conkers across this little valley and over the path and over the heads of others going up the path.

Moss Mobile

Dimensions: 1m x .5m / Materials: natural twine, mossy branches

The breeze caused the various sections of the Moss Mobile to spin in alternating cycles. Each mossy branch / stick was unique and appeared like it’s own little habitat, while being part of the whole system.

Rock Mobile

Dimensions: 1m x .5m / Materials: natural twine, 2 x rocks, stick

The most simple and primitive of technologies seemed to achieve a great feat: floating rocks in mid air. Their very subtle movement in the breeze contrasted with their perceived weight and hardness, creating a mesmerising effect.

Floating Stones

Dimensions: 3m x 3mm / Materials: naturally dyed yarn, 3 x stones

3 stones of various shapes and sizes sit on the intersection of wool connected to 3 trees drawing the relationship between them. 

Tree x Four

Dimensions: 3m x 3mm / Materials: naturally dyed yarn

There are 4 trees. here are 4 trees. The naturally dyed yarn connects the relationship between 3 of the trees in 4 variations. A physical space of communication is created between them

Scales

Dimensions: 4m x 2m / Materials: natural twine, sticks, stones, wooden cog from Union Hall Pier.

This interactive scales invited visitors to weigh their sticks against their stones.

Bui

Dimensions: 3m x 3m / Materials: recycled / found material

The piece hangs from a single point causing it to twirl around. The bright yellow patterned fabric is animated by the gentlest of breezes.

Choctaw Sun

Dimensions: 60cm x 60cm / Materials: stones, conkers, yellow gorse flowers

In 1847, the Choctaw Nation collected $170 to send to the Irish victims of the Famine – around €4,000 in today’s money. This was despite the Choctaws having undergone their own hardship 16 years earlier when they were forced to move west of the Mississippi in a journey that became known as the “Trail of Tears”. It is said the tribe heard about the Famine from an Irish man who was implementing the forced displacement west of the Mississippi – many Irish were involved in the mass displacement of the indigenous tribes that spanned decades. As we struggle to deal with the challenges facing our world today, this act of generosity shows us that empathy knows no boundaries, no borders.

The Choctaw sun symbol means “continuous happiness throughout all stages of life”. Since prehistoric times the sun cross symbol (a cross within a circle) has been by cultures around the world. It represents the solar calendar, marking the solstices and equinoxes. In this piece I wanted to illustrate the connections between the Choctaw sun and the Celtic cross and how at it’s root the symbol speaks of our collective existence on the earth.