'Tools of the Trade' 2022: Irish wildlife and Biodiversity
A multidisciplinary Art Project designed and coordinated by Artists Leah Murphy and Susan Walsh.
Pupils from 5th Class in St. Mary’s on the Hill N.S Knocknaheeny were introduced to this years project partners- the National Sculpture Factory (NSF) on Albert Quay and the school of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) and UCCs Natural Collections.
Beginning with an introductory workshop, the children were introduced to the tools in everyday use by these places of interest. We then developed a series of creative workshops inspired by the cross-curricular themes that the places presented. Techniques and materials used in the sculpture factory with inspiration drawn from the themes presented by the school of bees.
In the series of creative response workshops, We engaged with surrounding natural envirnoment and explored local biodiversity. Through these themes the children experienced a wide range of materials and artistic techniques: With observational drawing of the tools, detailed drawing and painting techniques, printmaking, the cyanotype photographic process and 3D model making, with porcelain clay, wire work, and mixed media.
National Sculpture Factory
Tools relating to the various Artistic techniques and mediums used at the National Sculpture Factory were presented, including woodwork, metalwork, welding, Ceramics and glass casting and firing.
A bespoke behind the scenes virtual tour was Filmed on location at the Sculpture Factory where the children were introduced to the building itself and its history.
They could view the large machines and crane in use, and see artists at work on the factory floor.
From the School of BEEs, tools from various departments were presented, covering many areas of interest such as Geology, Biology, Environmental Science and Marine Science. With photographs and maps the children were introduced to the School of Bees and the locations within the grounds of UCC.
The Natural Collections was photographed and related information gathered on Irish wildlife specimens in the collection, which became the inspiration for many of the Artworks.
Butterfly and Beetle educational panels highlighting some of the extraordinary features of insect life.
Wall charts by Rudolf Leuckart (1822 - 1898), a German zoologist known as the ‘Father of Parasitology’. depicting everything from protozoa to primates. The UCC museum houses over one hundred charts, powerful legacies which were likely used as teaching aids many years ago.
The Blaschka models anatomically perfect models of zoological specimens. Exquisitely detailed models are rendered in glass, then reinforced and coloured with copper wire and painted paper.
A series of creative workshops
The large collaborative painting where each child contributed a 30x30cm painting became a ‘Celebration of Irish Biodiversity’ exploring native trees, wild flowers, birds, insects, bees, sea life and small animals.
‘Wonderful Weeds’ was created using the cyanotype photographic process on unbleached muslin cloth. The children collected the weeds and wild plants from around their school gardens to make the composition.
In collaboration with Cork Based Japanese Artist Seiko Hayase who had a project studio at the National Sculpture Factory we developed a 3D workshop around her idea of a ‘Future Animal’, Inspired by the Irish wildlife housed in the natural collection and how these native Irish animals may evolve.