Économusée Magazine

Centuries & Millennia Back In Time

Centuries & Millennia Back In Time

Finding the Celtic Roots Studio2 on a map leads directly into the heart of Ireland, halfway between Dublin and Galway, into a countryside that is quiet, rainy in the winter, and green in the early days of spring. It is here that the sculptor Helen Conneely settled 25 years ago, at the very heart of nature. Her sculpting materials come from the surrounding peat bogs. She has access to this material thanks to the development of an electricity production network based on the use of peat and biomass. Petrified trunks may be stumbled upon during the extraction process: “These remains of thousand-year-old trees are set aside, and I draw my inspiration from this recovered material,” Helen explains.

It is with great respect that she speaks of these trees, full-fledged characters in Irish history even before the Christian era. She feels privileged to be able to go back this way into the deep roots of her country thanks to sacred trees, linked to the gods and eternal life. She has a preference for oaks and yews. The day of our interview, she had just sent one of her sculptures to New York. She regularly receives orders from members of public organizations wishing to give a gift representing the country’s soul to foreign dignitaries on official visit to Ireland. The sculptor is delighted to know that this history is transmitted across borders.

Fifteen thousand people drop by her studio each and every year. She joined the ÉCONOMUSÉE® network because visitor contact is a key requirement: “Describing trees through sculptures and objects like jewelry is to give substance to history.” To the pleasure of creation is added the feeling of highlighting “the sacred.” She also claims that her work allows her to show respect for elders, an attitude that she shares with Inuit artists and artisans whose work she discovered during a visit to Quebec City a few years ago.

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