FieldWorks Gap Year: Spring, 2019 Update 2

The farm is quiet this week. We’ve just completed the eighth week of our gap year program FieldWorks and many of our students have taken the Easter break as an opportunity to travel for the week. Some have remained in Ireland while others have travelled to destinations within Europe and still, others have chosen to be with their families for the week. We’re looking forward to everyone returning refreshed and ready for the final three weeks where students will develop a long term project building on their experiences and research thus far. Looking back on the past four weeks and now with two-thirds of the program behind us, it has become quite clear that time is quickly passing us by. A realisation that fills us with excited anticipation for everyone’s best final effort. You can look at an updated selection of photographs here.

Our last four weeks actually began with a St Patric’s day celebration where students enjoyed a trip into Wexford town to partake in the festivities. Following the weekend, we headed west for Galway. Along the way, we visited Birr Castle, home to the remarkable Parsons family. Currently, home to a spectacular sprawling garden, the family’s history is actually rooted in science and technology. From 1845 until 1917 the “Leviathan,” with its seventy-two-inch aperture, was the largest telescope in the world. This historic site also houses one of the oldest known photography darkrooms and was the birthplace of Charles Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine.

In Galway city, we had an opportunity to view the ranging exhibition titled Kpaplak Donker at Galway Arts Centre which included sculptures, drawings, prints, books of collage and video work by artist Nik Taylor. We were also thrilled to visit artist Marielle Macleman in her studio, gaining valuable insight into her most recent works. We enjoyed some great food and made the most of the vibrant atmosphere which seems omnipresent every time we return to this coastal spot.

Before returning to Cow House, we made sure to visit the Burren, a unique karst limestone landscape in County Clare and home to Burren College of Art. We toured the college’s impressive facility and viewed an exhibition of drawings by Malcy Duff. We took some time to wander the rocky coastal terrain and before the final leg of our trip, stopped at McGann’s pub in Doolin for a cosy fireside pint while enjoying some fantastic chips!

In the studio, over the course of three weeks, our students had an opportunity to work with three supremely talented individuals. Photographer Matthew Thompson shared his knowledge of lighting and portraiture, guiding students as they worked through ideas in the production of new work. Our longtime friend, Cow House graphic designer and activist Maria Hinds followed Matthew, helping the students take their artwork and transform it into a handmade book using both digital and analogue techniques. Artist Laura Fitzgerald led the final week of workshops, culminating in a project where students worked with text and image in the landscape.

During this busy three-week span, our students enjoyed several trips to Wexford town to visit the cinema, shop and enjoy some needed downtime at The Sky and the Ground pub. Additionally, we spent a day in Kilkenny visiting the Oscar-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon who’s films include the spectacular The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. We also made time to tour Kilkenny Castle and Butler Gallery. These three weeks produced an abundance of work, experience and skills that our students will draw upon in their forthcoming efforts. Our first ever session of FieldWorks is shaping up very nicely and we look forward to sharing student artwork when the session comes to a close.

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