"Through the looking glass" with 'Tools of the Trade' 2023

A multidisciplinary Art Project designed and coordinated by Artists Leah Murphy and Susan Walsh.

Have an illuminating adventure with CCAD Glass department, see through the microscope at MTU's Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering department and get a clear view of a sustainable path with soil and scobi's, fermentation and food at MY GOODNESS.

Beginning with an introductory workshop, the children from St.Fin Barre’s National School- 5th and 6th Class and Greenmount National School- 5th Class, were introduced to the tools in everyday use by these three places of interest. Tools and items relating to the various Artistic techniques and mediums used at the Glass department, at CCAD. Glassware and Lab equipment and measurement tools were introduced from MTUs Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering department, and various fermentation and related equipment from my goodness food company.

Beginning with a detailed observational drawing of the individual Items and Tools followed by an engaging discussion about the possible uses of these unique objects. Then a brief description of the tools themselves what they are used for and introducing the interesting places of work.

The on-site visits offer the children a behind the scenes experience of the unique places of work.All three project partners and related staff were extremely generous in offering their time and space to create a wonderful learning experience for the children.

Tools of the Trade Exhibition 2023 Glass Department

Crawford College of Art & Design (CCAD) Applied Art, Glass Department

Firstly an insightful visit to CCAD to the Glass department where head of department Debbie Dawson should the various techniques and materials demonstrating the uses of equipment and machines including sandblasting, laser print glass casting and lost wax techniques and the various uses of the large firing kins. The site visit was documented with photographs, drawing and note taking in sketch books.

Tools of the Trade Exhibition 2023 My Goodness

My Goodness, Vegan Food company. English Market

In the English Market the classes were met by Virginia the owner of My goodness foods, Virginia shared her ideas on circular economy and zero waste from the soil regeneration project CUSP which they then use to plant herbs and vegetables and the rain water recycling equipment which is then used for their fermented drinks. An up close introduction to SCOBI and the health benefits of fermented foods, all pupils and staff were then treated to a sample tasting of the sparkling lemon kombutcha and raw chocolate truffles.

Tools of the Trade Exhibition 2023 MTU

Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering Department, Munster Technological University

The Class groups were welcomed onto the college campus at MTU and to the Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering department, on entering the Lab emphasis was given to lab safety techniques and all visitors to the lab were given a lab coat glasses and gloves. The Lab technician Theresa presented a colourful and fun learning atmosphere to demonstrate the inner-workings and equipment in the lab while the lab scientist Olivia gave several hands on technical notions on experiments mixing and measurements.

Tools of the Trade Exhibition 2023 Creative Response Workshop

Creative response workshops

Creative response workshops inspired by the cross-curricular themes drawn from the project partners and site visits. In the series of creative response workshops, the children experienced a wide range of materials and artistic techniques including: observational drawing , up close detailed drawing and painting techniques, printmaking, gel printing, photography, clay work , sgraffito stained glass.

A series of creative workshops

Collaborative stained glass panels:
Glass Artist Debbie Dawson co-facilitated a classroom based workshop where each child worked on a prepared glass panel with sgraffito technique with themes from the original tools, science lab and imagery from my goodness foods. Using an array of tools and light boxes to achieve the effect. The panels were then fired an leaded at the glass department. The pieces were then framed into the four collaborative Glass Panels.

Under the microscope handheld macro photography and Gell print wall:
The children were inspired by an up-Close view of objects ,plants and ingredients, bacteria and scoby seen through the magnified lens, under the microscope handheld macro photography, from this we explored up close drawing, colour studies and multi-colour gel printing.

SCOBY a Growing Culture:
The SCOBY culture clay figures developed from - SCOBY, or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, is the fermentation starter that kicks off kombucha fermentation. A SCOBY is literally alive with active yeast and bacteria, which when fed grows and multiples. Artistic inspiration for this collective piece stems from Sculptor Anthony Gormleys, "Field," Our own SCOBY inspired collection of hand built clay figures formed a group on the atrium floor one per child that participated in the workshops each one unique in character, over the course of the Tools of the Trade exhibition, children who participated in our invited schools series of workshops each added to the “growing culture” resulting in a flowing crowd of nearly 200 pieces.

Exhibition of Artworks at City Hall Atrium, June 2023

Photography by Marcin Lewandowski: www.soundofphotography.com

Participating project partners and schools

Thank you to our project partners and schools for collaborating with the 'Tools of the Trade' art project in 2023.

Logo MTU
Logo MTU Crawford
Logo My Goodness Food

Our Exhibitions

Tools of the trade Expo 2023: Through the looking glass

Exhibition 2023: Through the Looking Glass

Have an illuminating adventure with CCAD Glass department, see through the microscope at MTU's Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering ...

Tools of the trade Expo 2022

Exhibition 2022: Irish wildlife and Biodiversity

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 ...

Tools of the trade Expo 2021: A Maritime Journey

Exhibition 2021: A Maritime Journey

This years Project the Pupils from 5th Class at St. Mary’s on the Hill N.S, Harbour View Road, Have embarked on a Maritime journey with 'Tools of the Trade' ...

Tools of the trade Expo 2019: The River to Open Seas

Exhibition 2019: The River to Open Seas

Pupils from Greenmount NS. Green Street and Bunscoil Chríost Rí, Turners Cross go on board with Meitheal Mara Community Boatyard ...

Tools of the trade Expo 2018: Art, Architecture and Archaeology

Exhibition 2018: Art, Architecture and Archaeology

Children from St.Maries of the Isle Primary School and Sundays Well Girls and Boys National School. In collaboration with Cork Public Museum ...

Tools of the trade Expo 2017

Exhibition 2017: The connection between Science and Art

In this project school children explored the connection that exists between the creative and inquisitive processes of both science and art ...


Made possible with

Creative Ireland logo

Arts Office Cork logo

Follow us


Contact us

Send us an Email