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"Ancestral" White, Grey Limestone Sculpture by Irish Artist Helen O'Connell



Helen O'Connell's powerful sculptural series in Irish Kilkenny limestone is inspired by Ireland's ancient megalithic heritage. Entitled "Ancestral" it employs carved motifs such as the spiral and signature Celtic forms such as the ancient torc in a true celebration of her ancestors. Although all work is unique, this sculpture is made in a limited series of 10 with Edition 3 of 10 available to order. Helen O’Connell is an award-winning Irish sculptor with studios in Dublin and neighbouring County Wicklow, Ireland. Much of her work is in Irish Kilkenny limestone, a beautifully versatile material composed of marine life compressed over thousands of years, when the island of Ireland was still attached to mainland Europe. A native Dubliner, she graduated from Trinity College Dublin before surrendering to a fascination with sculpture. Determined to learn the ancient Craft of stone carving, she spent several years studying in Ireland before attending the world famous Nicoli studios in Carrara, Italy where she immersed herself in the skills and expertise of generations of artisans. An increasing love of marble subsequently led her to the quarries of Alentejo in Portugal where the indigenous stone is renowned for its unique veining, coloration and particularities and these incredible pieces of layered history are carefully hand picked for specific works. Much of O’Connell’s recent work explores the pure yet ceremonial qualities of the vessel and the unadorned magnificence of Kilkenny limestone is implicit in the light yet unyielding permanence of these forms. The artist is compelled by the energy this timeless material holds and the inspiration of sculptors such as Isamu Noguichi can be perceived in these minimal forms. “Stone for me is a mythical, timeless and layered repository of past experience and I am so compelled by the energy it holds that I return time and again to this chosen medium. The veining in marble can signify a geological shift, a lingering echo of the monumental processes of earth and time that were involved in the formation of these stones. I discover fossils as I chip, tap and sculpt. Mother Nature continues to be my most admired sculptor and I strive to create something as beautiful and perfect as a pebble. Nothing is so aesthetically satisfying to me as a dry stone wall in the West of Ireland or as comforting to touch as a perfectly smooth pebble from a beach. I am inexplicably drawn to this medium” O’Connell’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and art institutions throughout Ireland and Europe including the Royal Hibernia Academy and the galleries of the Craft Council of Ireland. Her work is featured in many private collections both in Ireland and abroad including that of Bono and Anne Madden. She is represented by Rhyme Studio in New York City.


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About The Maker

Rhyme Studio is a Brooklyn based design manufacturer, interiors and art advisory. On a mission to breathe unique form, color and sustainable craftsmanship into the world of rug design, we source Irish wool for our rug collection from Galway sheep farms. It is processed at a 300 year old woolen mill, hand dyed using non toxic dyes by a 200 year old mill before tufting by hand into carpet at our rural Irish farmhouse studio. The OM Series is inspired by a 1600 year old alphabet called Ogham and features the rich deep brown wool of the Irish black sheep Zwartbles. Known for monumental inscriptions on standing stones, Ogham is also called the tree alphabet and many believe it was created by druids and scholars as a secret form of communication. Other collections include the Limited Edition The Insula Series inspired by 7th Century Irish art and illuminated manuscripts. This era was considered a golden age for the arts in Ireland. "Trinity" is a study of triangular forms and rich colours and a fourth design series entitled "Modernity" will debut in autumn 2020. Founder Claire McGovern has designed interiors, curated art and design installations and collaborated with many talented artists and designers. Her entrepreneurial days began with a critically acclaimed art and design gallery evolving into the interiors and design practice she operates from New York City today. Her office is proud to also represent the works of storm chaser Ian Sheldon and Irish sculptor Helen O'Connell.
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