Through Crafts Council of Ireland and Laois Education Centre funding, Kilkenny based ceramic artist Maeve Sookram came to Timahoe NS for a ten week residency.
Linking art with their award winning Young Scientist project based on Timahoe Esker, they worked with the artist on a fabulous large ceramic tile mosaic called “Enchanted Esker”.
The Craft Council were so impressed with the work – not only the finished piece but also the process - that they selected it, as one of 19 pieces from throughout Ireland, to be part of the Shaping Our World Through Making exhibition. This exhibition was opened by Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald at Collins Barracks in Dublin.
Minister Fitzgerald said she was very impressed with the Timahoe children’s work.
At the start of the project ceramist Maeve Sookram introduced the children to stoneware clay and the ancient techniques of decorative relief and tile-work, to design a 3D representation of the Esker’s landscape, plants and creatures. A process of investigation, discussion, experimenting, planning and design took place before the making of the mosaic began. The students recalled all they had seen during field trips to Timahoe Esker- everything from badgers to birds, foxes to flowers, spiders to strawberries. Beginning by putting these drawings on paper they worked collaboratively to design their representation of the Esker. Then, working on one large slab of clay, all students traced in their own composition before cutting it into tiles and individually modeling sections in relief. They fully involved in all aspects of the creation from drawing, to modeling, to painting to grouting.
According to coordinating teacher Aoife Booth it has been a fabulous experience for all involved. “Maeve was a dream to work with,” she said, “and the children loved every single second of it.”
The Enchanted Esker art work is now on exhibition in Laois Education Centre on the Block Road, any everyone is welcome to head along and view it there. Early next year the piece will return to the school where it will remain.