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Presented by logo Homo Faber by Michelangelo Foundation
© Mike Hannon
Tracing Venice

Helen O'Shea

Textile sculptor

Initially trained as a chef, Irish textile artist Helen O’Shea went on to graduate from the Grennan Mill Craft School in Kilkenny, where she received a good grounding in textiles, print, ceramics and metalwork. After 20 years of delivering arts and crafts programmes in a youth work setting, Helen decided to focus on her interest in the field of creative textiles and fine art textiles and went back to education. During her 2015 residency at the Icelandic Textile Center in Blönduós, north-west Iceland, Helen was particularly impressed by the way materials there were utilised to the fullest. Waste fish skins, for instance, were made into fish leather and sold to the high-end fashion industry. This idea of extracting more out of waste is the basis of Helen’s current artistic practice. As a beachcomber, Helen is alarmed by the number of plastics washing up on the beaches. She began gathering and exploring these materials. "I would like people to view and think about waste plastic as a valuable resource."


In 2021 Helen completed a Master's degree in research at MTU/CCAD with a focus on waste plastics as an art form. She manipulates the language of a throwaway and disregarded material, transforming it into futuristic, delicate creatures. Her response to material is investigative and innovative. Helen's playful making has serious intent: to change attitudes towards waste plastics and address the problem of environmental pollution by presenting plastic waste as an expressive medium.

Objects Next of Europe Exhibition Contact
Backwater Artists Group, Wandesford Quay, T12 E26D, Cork, Ireland
+353 872640649
Discover on Homo Faber Guide

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