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Helen O’Connell

Helen O’Connell Stone sculptor
Contact
English
Hours:
By appointment only
Phone:
+353 86 3307364
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Carving shadows under an Irish sky

  • • Helen creates sculptures from Irish limestone
  • • She enjoys working collaboratively and learning from those around her
  • • She spent time studying at the Nicoli studios in Carrara, Italy

As a child Helen O’Connell loved making things, but after studying English literature at university she thought she would go on to write, rather than work with her hands. However a trip to Russia sparked an interest in sculpture and she soon became determined to learn stone carving. After training in Ireland she went on to learn from marble masters in Italy and Portugal, before “coming full circle” and ending up back in her homeland carving local Irish limestone. She now works thematically, creating a body of work around a theme that inspires her, whether it be musical instruments, abstract forms or the rocky fissures on Irish mountains.

Read the full interview

Works

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  • © Emma Haugh
  • © Helen O'Connell
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Photo: © All rights reserved
Anemone

This limestone sculpture was part of a solo exhibition of work inspired by the sea, entitled Carraige na Farraige (Stones of the Sea) in Irish. Limestone is composed of compressed marine life formed over millions of years, which together with the panoply of organic life forms to be found underwater, informs the subject matter of Helen’s work.

Length 40 cm
Width 40 cm
Height 30 cm

Photo: © Emma Haugh
Sunflower vessel

This sculpture was commissioned as a wedding present. Helen wanted to make the newlyweds something cheerful to evoke the bright future ahead of them in their new home. She is drawn to the vessel form because of its infinite variety and ritualistic connotations. She believes the birds are now enjoying themselves bathing in it at their London home.

Length 50 cm
Width 50 cm
Height 25 cm

Photo: © Helen O'Connell
Circular Breathing

This sculpture is carved from a block of a particular Kilkenny marble that lends itself to a deep dark polish and allows us to see through the stone to the occasional ancient marine fossil within. Helen created this sculpture for her 2017 Circular Breathing exhibition. The circular form and its symbolic connotations of eternity, the cycle of life and our cosmos influenced all the sculptures for the exhibition.

Length 40 cm
Width 40 cm
Height 30 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved
Circular Breathing

This Kilkenny limestone sculpture was part of a 2017 exhibition in which all of the sculptures were called Circular Breathing. The pieces were inspired by the sad breakdown of Helen’s marriage. The circular form and its symbolic connotations of eternity, the cycle of life and our cosmos influenced all the sculptures for the exhibition.

Length 100 cm
Width 100 cm
Height 30 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved
Coral

This limestone sculpture was part of a solo exhibition of work inspired by the sea, entitled Carraige na Farraige (Stones of the Sea) in Irish. Helen wanted to pay homage to the incredible underwater world of sculptural forms and marine life: “I love the beautiful delicate graceful forms of the branch coral and completed a whole series of related coral-inspired pieces.”

Length 66 cm
Width 20 cm
Height 16 cm

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