9 Stone Artist Michelle Byrne in Irish Arts Review

‘Great review of 9 Stones Artist Michelle Byrne’s work (by Carissa Farrell) in the Winter Edition of the Irish Arts Review Magazine and a fabulous discussion by the artist about a recent public artwork in the November-December Visual Artists’ News Sheet.’

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Art.Earth artist of the month Cathy Fitzgerald and The Hollywood Forest Story: an ongoing eco-social art practice for permanent forestry in Ireland and elsewhere

9 Stones artist Cathy Fitzgerald, was selected as artist of the month for May by the international art.earth network. Here’s what Cathy wrote in response to her selection.


Ahead of the international summit on cultural responses to  ‘Evolving the Forest taking place in Dartington Hall, near Totnes, Devon, England this June, Cathy was asked by Mark Leahy, of the Directors of the international ecoart network art.earth, to respond to some questions and discuss her work as featured art.earth artist of the month.

Reposted article from art.earth below:

The Hollywood Forest Story: an ongoing eco-social art practice for permanent forestry in Ireland and elsewhere

Hollywood, ‘the little wood that could’ is a small 2-acre Close-to-Nature continuous cover forest growing under the Blackstairs Mountains, in South County Carlow, Ireland. Photo: Martin Lyttle

by Cathy Fitzgerald, 1st May 2019

My ongoing eco-social art practice The Hollywood Forest Story (begun in 2008) explores how a move toward ecological forestry will be a critical response to the ecological emergency. My practice draws insights from the art and ecology field and my involvement in forestry circles since I came to Ireland from New Zealand in the late 90s. This was also around the time I started my undergraduate studies in contemporary art practice at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin after previously working in research science.

Ireland has a sad forest history. Impoverished by colonization, only 1% of its native forests remained in 1900. Continuing rural hardship in Ireland saw justifiable enthusiasm in the 1950s for afforestation with monoculture plantations of the fast-growing North American conifers.

When I first came to Ireland, I worked with Jan Alexander, founder of Crann (the Irish word for ‘tree’), her nonprofit organisation. Crann drew public support for growing environmental awareness that monoculture clearfell forestry limits biodiversity, and negatively affects water quality and soil fertility. Crann successfully lobbied the Irish government to introduce incentives for significant native tree planting that have significant ecological and natural heritage value. I highlighted community planting of native trees in County Leitrim in a celebratory exhibition, The Local Project Revisited in 2006.

Today broadleaf trees continue to be planted but only as as a minimum percentage of national afforestation. Critically, Ireland lacks broadleaf timber volume and mills to cater for diverse tree species, despite their greater ecological and social amenity value. Overall, Ireland’s forestry remains, as in many part of the world, ecologically limited.

Eco-social artist Cathy Fitzgerald with Crann founder, Jan Alexander in 2005.

Jan Alexander and foresters, such as Paddy Purser, realised that establishing mixed species, mixed aged forests in perpetuity would be critical for a sustainable and life-enhancing forest industry. Interested in alternative continuous cover forestry as practised in Europe through the Pro Silva (Latin ‘for forests’) organisation, and with support from The Continuous Cover Forestry Group (CCFG), the UK Pro Silva group, they and others established Pro Silva Ireland in 2000. EU and UK Pro Silva forest experts then shared practical knowledge with pioneering Irish landowners, foresters and forestry students about how to transform Ireland’s monoculture tree plantations into naturally regenerating permanent forests. I later became part of these discussions as from 2000 I found myself living in a small plantation conifer woodland.

These forestry discussions were the background to my art college days. Not surprisingly, I found myself drawn to the pioneering eco-social art practices of Helen and Newton Harrison. I was fascinated by how they facilitated open participatory dialogues in their creative ecological practices. They welcomed artistic, scientific, political, and local knowledge to form inclusive practices to envision improved wellbeing for diverse communities and bioregions. Their practice of collaborative works and conversation fueled communities with new ideas of how to sustain natural environments, and importantly, expanded ideas of art, and education in general, toward what constitutes an ecological education. The Harrisons’ Serpentine Lattice (1992-3), that presents a restorative bioregional vision through participatory practices to ameliorate devastated US Pacific coastal forests, was particularly inspirational for me.

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Similarly, my slow art ways of working across disciplines whilst living within a forest gave me opportunities to develop a fulfilling eco-social art practice. My work developed ecological depth as I realised that I had expert forestry contacts to help me and my husband transform the woodland and that I knew forest policymakers when I had become involved with my local Green Party.  I also had the Harrisons’ work to guide me and their recent book The Time of the Force Majeure: After 45 Years Counterforce is on the Horizon (Harrisons, 2016), detailing their practices over many decades, is the book I wish I had when I first started. It is the critical text for any artist or art educator seeking to understand what an eco-social art practice may involve.

As transforming a conifer plantation will take several decades I found I had ample time, amongst other work, to develop my eco-social art practice chiefly through blogging about it at The Hollywood Forest Story. My Hollywood Forest Story became the basis of my art practice doctoral research. I came to understand that eco-social art practices, those that are embedded in a particular community over years, foster relevant ecoliteracy for practitioners and their audiences. Eco-social art practitioners and their audiences become ecoliterate – they quickly understand the connections of what sustains their environments and their lives (an illustrated, interactive online book gives details of my research).

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Increasing ecoliteracy from eco-social art practices inevitably fosters our agency for change. We can see this in the new ideas and policies to safeguard environments that often arose from the Harrisons’ work. I found this happening unexpectedly in my work too, when on the basis of my eco-social art practice, I successfully argued that continuous cover forestry be the key point of the Green Party of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s forest policy in 2012. My practice also actioned me to promote the late Earth-lawyer Polly Higgins’ work on developing  a law against the crime of ecocide to the Irish Green Party.

My forestry friends often smile at the small scale of Hollywood forest but they intuit that the story of Hollywood Forest, the ‘little wood that could’ adds a more public vision to how forestry must change. And just a few months ago, something important happened in Irish forestry. On the back of the work of Pro Silva Ireland, the Irish Department of Agriculture announced the first pilot scheme to financially assist landowners to move toward continuous cover forestry. Pro Silva Ireland’s guidebook on how to transform a plantation into a forest has gone into its second printing and Pro Silva Ireland’s first two training days last month were oversubscribed.

Children of Pro Silva Ireland members Anna and Brian Browne enjoying a visit to Hollywood forest in 2010. Photo: Cathy Fitzgerald

Looking back, it has taken much hard work and many conversations over some decades to develop the beginnings of sustainable vision for Ireland’s forests. Continuous cover forestry is to be welcomed but given how fast the planetary ecological emergency is unfolding, and the short decade deadline climate scientists have announced to change our ways, such integrative forestry practices must be mainstreamed with the utmost urgency. Forestry education will have to recognize the endgame plantation forestry promotes and reinvent itself rapidly.  And dialogical creative practices must be recognized for their significant role to reinvent education more broadly, to help communities imagine how living well with forests, lands, rivers, oceans is essential for a sustainable, just and beautiful world.

Cathy Fitzgerald PhD    


Cathy’s PhD thesis ‘Living Well with Forests to articulate eco-social art practice’ (2018) and her interactive ebook on the development of her ongoing Hollywood Forest Story can be read here

Follow The Hollywood Forest Story at https://hollywoodforest.com/ – comments always welcome! Cathy is also the first Irish signatory to the global #culturedeclaresemergency movement

The 9 Stones Artists’ Book Project

The 9 Stones Artists' Book installed in Visual on a special bench of flattened corrugated iron and glass, designed by 9 Stones Artist Remco De Fouw
The 9 Stones Artists' Book installed in Visual on a special bench of flattened corrugated iron and glass, designed by 9 Stones Artist Remco De Fouw
The 9 Stones Artists’ Book installed in Visual on a special bench of flattened corrugated iron and glass, designed by 9 Stones Artist Remco De Fouw

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On display at Visual, Centre for Contemporary Art Carlow.
09 February – 19 May 2019
Opening Sat 9 February 2019, at 3pm.

9 Stones Artists members:

Michelle Byrne, Cathy Fitzgerald, Annabel Konig, Anthony Lyttle, Remco de Fouw,
Martin Lyttle, Jules Michael, Rachel Joynt, & Gwen Wilkinson.


The 9 Stones Artists’ Book Project is a collaborative project by 9 Stones Artists and  Ciara Healy, a Curator, Critical Writer, Book Artist and Lecturer in Art, Culture
& Heritage at IT Carlow.

9 Stone Artist, Anthony Lyttle, uses woodcuts as an integral part of his practice. In sharing his specific knowledge through workshops, the 9 Stones Artists were introduced to a new skill and visual language.

 

The outcome, a book of hand-printed woodblock prints, reflects on a relationship to their practice and place of work.

About the Artists
9 Stones Artists, formed in 2004. Its members are professional artists living and
working in the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains in South County Carlow.
Dr. Ciara Healy is a Curator, Critical Writer, Book Artist and Lecturer in Art, Culture
& Heritage at IT Carlow.

Associated Events:

Artist Talk: Practice and influence
Saturday 2nd March, 3pm (Free)

Curator Emma-Lucy O’Brien in conversation
with members of 9 Stones Artists.
Wood Block Print and Book Binding Workshop
13 & 14 April, 10am–4pm (Cost: €80)
(Bookings through www.visualcarlow.ie)

Facilitated by Anthony Lyttle and Ciara Healy.

In this two day workshop participants will learn bookbinding and woodblock printing techniques.

Taking inspiration from the work of artist Stephen McKenna, participants will create a series of prints.

Emerging from this workshop you will have learned the process involved in block
printing, book binding, and come away with a book of your own prints!
Materials included.


This project was generously supported by a Carlow Arts Office Award.


The 9 Stones Artists especially wishes to thank Dr Ciara Healy for her inspiration and skill in helping us develop and produce our 9 Stones Artists Book.


The 9 Stones Artists also wish to acknowledge the skill and generosity of 9 Stone Artist Anthony Lyttle in sharing such a wonderful art technique and process with the group.


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The 9 Stone Artists also wishes to thank artist and researcher Pauline O’Connell on her essay on the 9 Stones Artists presented for the 9 Stone Artists’ Book installation at Visual Carlow.

Demonstration in stone sculpture with 9 Stone Artists Michelle Byrne and Martin Lyttle

 

As part of the 9 Stones Artists ongoing Possibilities of Place exhibition at VISUAL Carlow, 9 Stone Artists Michelle Byrne and Martin Lyttle (lithicworks.com) will be giving an absorbing introduction to the challenges of working with stone.

Michelle and Martin employ a variety of techniques and work with the local stone of the area, chiefly Kilkenny limestone and Carlow granite.

The demonstration will take place in Martin and Michelle’s studios in South Carlow.

Date:  Saturday 13th August 2016. 10am- 4.30pm, €40, inc. artists lunch at Osbourne’s Bar in Rathanna, Blackstairs, South Carlow.

Time: 10am- 4.30pm

Fee: €40, inc. artists lunch at Osbourne’s Pub in Rathanna.

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Book at VISUAL Box Office: 059 9172400

Review and Opening of the 9 Stones Artists Possibilities of Place exhibition: continues to 16 Oct, 2016

We have been delighted with the response to our exhibition which opened 4 July with the new season of exhibitions at VISUAL Carlow.

Celebrating our ten years of working together, The Possibilities of Place exhibition has been an exciting means to share our work, and in an incredible venue.

Below are some photos from the opening and if you missed it, you can listen again to the review on RTE Arena by Cristin Leach in conversation with Sean Rocks.

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Annabel Konig was also interviewed at Visual about the 9 Stones Artists exhibition by the Art in Ireland TV crew:

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We have also published a catalogue to accompany the exhibition, with a foreword from Jeremy Hill (curator of the former Norman Gallery) and an essay by curator Cliodhna Shaffrey. You can purchase the catalogue from Visual or email us at 9stonesartists@gmail.com.

The exhibition continues until Friday 16 October, do hope you can drop in to see it.

 

The Possibilities of Place

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The Possibilities of Place is the title of The 9 Stones Artists exhibition taking place at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow in July.
New works by Rachel Joynt RHA, Anthony Lyttle, Remco de Fouw ARHA, Michelle Byrne, Annabel Konig, Gwen Wilkinson, Martin Lyttle, Jules Michael and Cathy Fitzgerald will be on display.
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9 Stones Artists, Rachel Joynt, Michelle Byrne, Cathy Fitzgerald, Gwen Wilkinson, Jules Michael, Anthony Lyttle, Martin Lyttle, Annabel Konig and Remco de Fouw in front of Mt Leinster, Blackstairs, Co. Carlow
Formed in 2004, The 9 Stones Artists is a group of professional visual artists all of whom are based in the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains in South County Carlow. Its members work in a diverse range of media – film, printmaking, sculpture, photography, painting and installation.
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Cover of the new 9 Stones Artists Catalogue to be launched at the opening.
In conjunction with this exhibition the group is launching an anniversary publication kindly supported by the Carlow Arts Office. The work of each member is generously presented and a specially commissioned essay by Cliodhna Schaffrey also features.

 


The Nine Stones Show ‘The Possibilities of Place’ will open to the public on the 2nd July and will run to the 16th of October at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow.

The Exhibition launch is  9th July at 3.00pm at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow.

On the 9th July there will be the “Season Launch” of all the exhibitions at Visual at 3pm and there may be a short panel discussion also. This would be a friendly talk and involve the artists involved in the all the shows at Visual. Wine, tea and coffee, activities for kids 3pm- 5.30pm


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9 Stones Artists exhibit at FORM16@Ballymaloe Sculpture Exhibition

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We are delighted to announce that three 9 Stones Artists, Michelle Byrne, Gwen Wilkinson and Martin Lyttle have been selected to exhibit at the FORM16@Ballymaloe ‘Silent Expression’ sculpture exhibition. The works will be sited in wonderful gardens of Ballymaloe estate. Many thanks to the tireless work of art advocate Richie Scott who has put so much effort to organise the event, and the beautiful catalogue.

Works are for sale: please contact RichieScott@artisticalliance.eu or 087 919 0615.

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Sculpture by Remco de Fouw & Rachel Joynt at Maynooth University – The Irish Review

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Congratulations to Rachel Joynt and Remco de Fouw for Waggle Dance as seen in this month’s Irish Review
read more here
http://www.irishartsreview.com/sculpture-by-remco-de-fouw-rachel-joynt-at-nuim/

OAK 2015 at Killenure Castle

Martin Lyttle will be exhibiting at Oak 2015 at Killenure Castle

Wing, by Martin Lyttle (Kilkenny limestone)
Wing, by Martin Lyttle (Kilkenny limestone)

OAK Invite (1)_Page_1 OAK Invite (1)_Page_2 This years exhibition will be officially launched by Darragh McCullough (farmer, broadcaster, journalist, presenter on Ear to the Ground) on Saturday 9th May 2015 from 3 – 6 pm.  There will be food and live music at the opening and hopefully some sunny weather!

About the exhibition ; OAK 2015 – guest curated by artist Pauline O’Connell
“This year’s exhibition aims to reawaken a ‘ghost’ of times past.  My curatorial thinking relates to ‘time’, the history / the lives (both human and animal) the domestic activities, the utilitarian aspects of the working farm from the past embedded in the historic ruins of the castle and in the surrounding farm buildings.  Whilst the fabric of the stables, tack rooms, hay lofts / gallery spaces are in tact and have not been affected by any embellishments, there remains a presence in the vacant spaces, an echo of what was once there.  So, it is this ‘ghost’ that I am interested in, a reawakening through artistic interventions and installations.
A cross section of art practice accounts for the wide variety of work on display,  ranging from traditional sculpture, painting to video and installation, work that relates to the rural context in varying conceptual and textural ways.”The list of artists are : Michael Canning,  Maud Cotter, Eileen MacDonagh, Daphne Wright, Marie Foley, Sonja Landweer, Margaret Tuffy, Cecilia Bullo, Cecilia Moore, Bob Frazier, Martin Lyttle, Martha Quinn, Tom Fitzgerald, David Fitzjohn ( Wales ), Michael Fortune, Rachel Parry, Aoife Banville, Eva Kelly, Holger Lang (Austria).