Aith - meaning 'sharp' , and teann, meaning 'lacerating'
The name describes the plants fierce sharp thorns, most of us know this prolific plant by the name of gorse or furze and its bright golden flowers are to be seen all over the Irish landscape. It has protective uses as a hedging in fields keeping the livestock enclosed and keeping intruders out. It was also believed to hold protective powers that kept the animals safe from harm. This belief in gorse having powers goes back to old Irish mythology and the festival of Bealtaine where gorse was one of the nine sacred woods that would be gathered and burned on the ceremonial fires for the festival..
Farmers burn back the gorse as well which help to control its spread and to encourage the growth of new tender shoots which are highly prized nourishment for the animals. The ashes from the burnt gorse provide nourishment for the soil.
As a part of Make 2016 I made several journeys to the cliffs along the coast to gather burnt gorse, the task of cutting, pulling, dragging, lifting, carrying and transporting the gorse was a very physical hands on exercise and through the intimate engagement with the plant and the land it came from I was was able to gain a deeper understanding of its material, form and essence.
The burnt state of the gorse shows the transformation of the material from its prickly sharpness to a smooth charred surface. Through the flames of the fire what once protected and nourished is now blackened and appears dead but in fact it is through this cycle that new growth can flourish.
Biophilia, various mosses and lichen ,mdf , household paint, polystyrene , steel pins, gold leaf, pva glue and ink. Dimensions width 210 cm x 340 cm length x 17 cm Height
Biophilia - An innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world. E.O Wilson
Biophilia isa moss and lichen installation inspired by researchcarried out on board the Space Shuttle Columbia in February 2003 in which they discovered moss is the only plant that responds to zero-gravity in space by growing in a spiral form compared to all other plants that responded by growing randomly in all different directions. Here in Ireland in LIT Sphagnum moss is being further investigated for its use in space by the CELLS research Group founded by Ms. Mc Keown- Bennet.
For this installation in the gunnery room in Blackrock Castle , I used the Fibonacci code to create a golden spiral. This code is found throughout nature, art and science. It is a symbol of our inter - connectiveness .