You find yourself on roads which seem to lead nowhere. From Dublin it takes you approximately 1,5h. Going off the motorway, following the road which leads you to Killea, near Rosscrea. I am looking for Lynn Kirkham, artist and traveler, woman in her fifties who decided to move to a little barn, in Tipperary.
Sorry, do you know where Lynn lives, the basket-lady?
Looking at my friend’s description of how to get to Lynn’s studio in the middle of nowhere, I had to stop downtown Killea. Which consists of a primary school, a church, a pub and a cemetery. Fortunately, the pub owner was there to lead me the way – third left after the church, up the first hill, then left again after a mile and it is right there. I got lost, still. After backing out of a cattle farm, I instantly had to get out of the car to enjoy the view. It was raining, but clearing up after just two minutes. I inhaled fresh autumn air. When I found myself at Lynn’s place – called Greenmantle – I was fascinated how wisely she restored her little home: Seeds and dried flowers, a green house for fruit and vegetables on her patio. Bringing her horses to Greenmantle meant she needed land. Bringing her art meant she needed a studio.
Lynn is a tall, skinny but strong woman. I remember her wearing working clothes, wellies and a hoodie to cover from the cold. She has a friendly smile, always in thoughts and seemingly happy about what she has achieved already. Proud to be an artist, to know a lot of people around Ireland and the world, and most impressively: being a very generous and flexible host for foreigners (and family) in her house. Volunteers come and go, working at the house, making breakfast and sorting out little things for Lynn. Also, volunteers are working in her studio to help with commissioned public art.
Massive, but fine lined creatures are part of her work. Lynn uses steal constructions to build skeletons for her sculptures which usually depict animals. I have passed some of her work regularly, at the roundabout in Newbridge, Co. Kildare or the Irish National Stud in Kildare Town. Horses. We can only put together a few pieces at a time. We construct them onto their skeleton and take them off again to work on the wood Sabrina her current volunteer tells me with awe. Look, what she made! She is such a great support pointing at man sized woven sculpture, Lynn smiles at Sabrina and me. I can feel how grateful she is about her apprentice and the useful help. The type of wood Lynn uses has been found somewhere, at rivers, in the forests. It is of charming shapes, seems to be kind of magical, stored outside of the studio. People bring it, they call her and offer it, or she collects it from wherever it happens to be.
The very particular about meeting Lynn was to talk about her traveling and writing it down to publish a book next year. Taking her horses out into an Irish summer, barely raining, and traveling with them from East to South, up North. She met friends, made long lost contacts and stayed with herself, in a tent. I experienced Lynn to be a down-to-earth person. She helps and supports people and ecology.
My aim is to make accessible and meaningful artworks, especially site specific; public art and community projects with an emphasis on creative development and upholding traditional skills. I grow, harvest & process natural raw materials and often use reclaimed and recycled resources.
Sometimes you find yourself on the road to nowhere. But you are somewhere and you go there to experience the new.
How to find Lynn:
- You have to go there by car but of course there is always the possibility to share a ride too.
- Lynn Kirkham, Greenmantle Bohernarudda, Killea,
Co. Tipperary, Ireland
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