Part of the Reflections series in partnership with South Tipperary Arts Centre, artist Rachel Rothwell asks us to look at our town with different eyes.
In the past twelve months, we have come to engage with our public spaces differently. A 5km radius found many of us tracing different paths through the same neighbourhoods, spending more time in our localities than ever before.
This new footfall through our towns has prompted many of us to look at them with different eyes. Finding beauty, noticing decay, wondering what lies behind a street name. Artist Rachel Rothwell celebrates these re-discovered streets, asking participants to re-consider their town in a playful and interactive artwork that inhabits the town in both the short and long term.
Using clay, local soil and wildflower seeds, Rachel has created seed-bomb ‘bricks’ that are placed in a path beside Clonmel Library, marked with the names of Clonmel streets. Visitors can break off a piece of this tactile ‘path’ to bring some of Clonmel home with them, or spread it elsewhere. They will also be invited to add their own suggestions to the path during the festival, with their own words related to Clonmel. Rachel will document the changes in the sculptures appearance over the course of the festival, archiving its process of change and growth. The very name of Clonmel (Cluain Meala) hints at the richness of the land surrounding it, and as we search for more green in our urban spaces, this artwork allows the public to become active participants in the process. Seeds of native plants such as daisies, clover and meadowsweet will be included in the mix. The natural materials which make up this installation will also allow any elements that are not collected to gently return to the earth as it weathers the seasons.
Rachel will spend the morning at the sculpture site throughout the festival, assisting the public in making their own ‘bricks’ for the path and explaining the materials and concept behind the work.
Understanding where we come from is an important part of our identity, we are constantly growing, changing, shifting gear. This piece blends history, nature and creative interaction in a manner that allows us to examine.
Rachel Rothwell is an Irish artist with a focus on participatory practice. Her artwork examines how humans interact with their environment, exploring the internal and external factors that influence us as we try to make sense of who we are. Social and civic questions are key strands in her personal practice, including the notions of community and shared space.
These questions are important for citizens of all ages to consider as we move forward living on an increasingly crowded planet, with the environment an ever-more present concern as we try to understand how we can truly ‘live together’. The climate crisis, and the increasing sense of urgency with which it fills our thoughts, is an omnipresent theme in this dialogue.
She works in a variety of media, ranging from ceramics and illustration to bookmaking, installation and storytelling workshops. From 2015-2020 she lived and worked in Switzerland, during which time she also completed an MA in Socially Engaged Art.
In partnership with South Tipperary Arts Centre.