Gathering Ground 2011.

This is the fourth year that Gathering Ground has taken place, this year it will be as part of  Féile na Tuaithe at Turlough House, the National Museum of Country Life.

I missed 2010 as I was on my artist’s resdiency in Kilkenny Arts Office, so its great to be back on the project this year. The theme this year is what makes us belong, what makes people hanker for coming home. This theme was developed in the light of history repeating itself as people are leaving Ireland to find work. In a brain storming workshop most of the group were remembering and talking about what what makes them feel at home and familiar aspects and qualities about home that will always bring them back.

I didn’t feel I could relate to this emotion as much, as ‘where ever I lay may hat thats my home’, to quote Paul Young! I have approached the theme by questioning whether we all just belong every where.

The artists were asked to produce a small statement about the work we will create in May. This is my brief statement.


The act of circumnavigating the Turlough, using swimming as my mode of transport represents the journeys taken by all living creatures in search of a place to belong and a better chance in life.

As an avid Open Water Swimmer I feel very at home in the water.

Swimming in a loop, my journey ends where it begins, and continues again.

This will be represented through film projected on the museum’s walls.

This repeated voyage asks the question, is it just an illusion that only one place is our home, or do we all belong anywhere and everywhere?

Below is a small watery sketch of “Circumnavigate”.

I also plan to build a structure to go with the film, I would love to incorperate sound elements into a peep box. I am unsure if I will have the technical Know-how by May, as always a work in progress!

The Gathering Ground project started as “New Ground – Lost Seeds”  in 2008 where a group of artists worked together towards a celebratory art event at the Castlebar Rural Training Centre

This 10 day arts and ecology project was directed by John and Sue Fox from Dead Good Guides and original founders of the Cumbrian Art group Welfare State. Artists Martin Brockman and Dan Fox from Dead Good Guides worked on the project, collaborating with Mayo Artsquad and art workers from Mayo and Galway and various community groups.

The first year I built a water fountain, using water from the sprinkler system at the garden centre. The bicycle wheels also had metal chimes on to create sound as the water made the wheels turn.

Below is a publication of the 2008 new Ground project and a link to The Dead Good Guides website.

The second year the project moved to Turlough House – National Museum of Country Living.

The artists all created out pieces responding to the museum and park. I made water wheels by attaching 6 bicycle wheels across the river so that they spun around. This continued the link with water and bycicle wheels from the previous year. Jodie, Michelle, Rose and Laura all helped me build a giant willow heron that stood on the shore watching the wheels spin.

This is an unofficial film made in 2009, this version is missing all the names at the end. I had just learn stop motion animation and was mad to edit everything, it isn’t an official film, just an experiment in stop motion.

All the sounds are recorded from the weekends music and songs, apart from the odd added ‘itunes’ sound effect.


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