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© Mike Hannon
© Mike Hannon
© Mike Hannon
© Mike Hannon
© Roland Paschhoff

Helen O'Shea

  • Textile sculptor
  • Cork, Ireland
  • Master Artisan
Helen O'Shea Textile sculptor
© Mike Hannon

Rubbish reborn

  • • Helen uses found plastic to create art
  • • Her forms are inspired by the movements of the sea
  • • Her work highlights the fragility of the planet’s water

Helen O’Shea trained as a textile artist but became increasingly aware of the need to look to alternative materials. She creates delicate futuristic creatures from waste plastics. Her forms are drawn from deep water hydrothermal vents. Through her practice, Helen researches what is happening in our oceans. “We know more about the moon than we know about the deep oceans, so new information about plastics within that environment is being published frequently.” Her works are both stunning pieces of art and calls to become more conscious of our impact on the Earth. The found plastics Helen uses had another life before becoming part of the work, this legacy offers another layer to the finished pieces.

Read the full interview

Works

  • © Roland Paschhoff
  • © Roland Paschhoff
  • © Roland Paschhoff
  • © Roland Paschhoff
  • © Roland Paschhoff
Photo: © Roland Paschhoff
Blush

An organic looking sculpture is covered in scales. Two bottles with a red and yellow cap peep out of the top of the work. The material is reused HDPE and these scales are outlined with shades of hand dyed cotton threads. These scales are pinned into place creating a robust weighty structure belying its delicacy. Red threads are stitched into the neck of one bottle providing inspiration for the name of the piece.

Length 24 cm
Width 33 cm
Height 47 cm

Photo: © Roland Paschhoff
Embrace

Conjoined bottles with red caps have organic looking limbs covered in scales. The material is reused HDPE and these scales are outlined with shades of hand dyed cotton threads. These scales are pinned into place with some pins exposed on the underside of the limb. This piece can be wall hung, lie on its back, or be free standing as seen here.

Length 20 cm
Width 12 cm
Height 29 cm

Photo: © Roland Paschhoff
Leap

This organic looking sculpture sits on a metal plinth. It is half covered in scales and feather like wisps. The material used is HDPE from waste milk bottles. The scales are outlined with shades of hand dyed cotton threads in peach hues. These scales are pinned into place creating a robust structure belying its translucent delicacy.

Length 14 cm
Width 25 cm
Height 32 cm

Photo: © Roland Paschhoff
Twin

This organic looking sculpture presents double ended bottles with a growth of scales rising from each side in winglike forms. The material is reused HDPE and the scales are outlined with shades of hand dyed cotton threads in peach and brown hues. These scales are pinned into place creating a robust structure which can be seen when investigating the piece.

Length 10 cm
Width 33 cm
Height 24 cm

Photo: © Roland Paschhoff
Bi-Valve

A delicate, forked and organic looking sculpture is covered in scales. The material is reused HDPE and these scales are outlined with shades of hand dyed cotton threads in peach hues. These scales are pinned into place creating a robust structure belying its translucent delicacy. This can be understood when you look down into the arms of the piece and see the filigree network of pins inside.

Height 47 cm
Width 33 cm
Depth 14 cm

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