An eco social art exhibition, opening December 10th at St.Peter’s, North Main
A new exhibition by eco-social artist Ashleigh Ellis, with guest artist Cáit Ní Dhuinnín and collaborators Green Spaces for Health, Bishopstown Tidy Towns, and New Moon Dance Company opens December 10th - 22nd in the mezzanine at St.Peter’s, North Main Street, Cork. There will be two live events over the course of the exhibition.
On Sat 10th December, 6 - 7pm, New Moon Dance Company will perform Evergiving Earth wearing their eco printed and naturally dyed costumes. On the 14th of December 1-2pm, Cáit Ní Dhuinnín will lead a collective reading of some of Joanna Macy’s work, an inspiring eco social writer. All are welcome to attend. Ashleigh Ellis’s work is the culmination of an Arts in Context participatory engagement with the local community of Murphy’s Farm, Bishopstown, which was generously funded
by Cork City Council Arts Office, Sample-Studios and Green Spaces for Health.
Ashleigh ran The Natural Dye Project Cork with the aim
to creatively engage the local
community with nature in a positive and inspiring way, and draw attention to urban
greening, biodiversity and ethnobotany. This was approached by growing natural dye plants with the participants in the new community garden at Bishopstown. Skills and experiences were shared, and art and botany workshops were hosted with locals and
community groups. A dedicated gardening group was formed which met weekly from March to October 2022 to take care of the natural dye bed. This was supported by Green Spaces for Health and Bishopstown Tidy Towns. It was an inclusive group open to anyone who
wanted to try their hand and learn together about growing and taking care of natural dye plants, and how to use them. Locals of all ages joined, and it also attracted interested
folk from further afield.
As well as gardening, there was an extensive programme of arts and botany workshops, including many natural dye workshops with Ashleigh Ellis, a botany workshop with Jo Goodyear, and sonic mediations with Cáit Ní Dhuinnín. Children from
the local Foróige club joined for botanical printing and nature drawing. The New Moon Dance Company came for a four hour workshop working with the Alder trees on site to naturally dye their costumes, and this collaboration continued. The dancers and
Ashleigh connected over a deep and fierce love and respect of our natural world, its celebration and conservation.
Ashleigh’s artwork was made in response to the inspiring experiences with the participants and local community of Bishopstown, the dye plants, and the space itself.
She is interested in processes and in showcasing what can be done with natural dyes and the effect that growing dye plants can have, on our wellbeing, and on the local urban environment. For example they provide habitat and food for pollinators, and give
joy when spending time with them. They are a missing and crucial element of our textile industries and could significantly contribute to a sustainable fashion model. Her work
shows the beauty of natural colour, and documents experiences during this participatory project. There are two collaborative works with the project’s participants on display.
Cáit Ní Dhuinnín was invited by Ashleigh Ellis to join the project as a guest artist, to engage with the site of Murphy’s Farm. Cáit has a history of creating site-responsive works and began to build up a relationship with the place by spending time there. The
contrast between the domesticated and the wild untouchable areas of the site piqued Cáit’s interest as she visited Murphy’s Farm through the changing seasons. The meditative, and sometimes challenging, practice of sitting and observing in the location
fed into her drawing process. This unfolded from encounters with the place; observing, photographing, journaling and listening to the plants, animals and human beings coexisting
there. Plant life and plant death are noticed and contemplated in her works.
For more information about the exhibition and Images please contact:
Cáit Ní Dhuinnín;
About the Artists
Ashleigh Ellis is an eco-social, multidisciplinary artist based in Cork. Her practice focuses on the over-lap between art, ecology and community. She explores life promoting reflection and activities with communities to deepen the relationships between people and the more-the-human natural world. She is skilled in natural dyeing
and has developed community projects which involve growing dye plants (Create, Arts Council Ireland, 2021, Arts in Context, Cork City Council Arts Office, 2022). Her work is increasingly collaborative and outcomes often embody encounters, stories, residue of the processes, and multidisciplinary responses such as musical composition and poetry.
Ashleigh currently works in arts and health with Helium Arts, and as a freelance eco artist and natural dye expert. She has a Bachelors Honours Degree in Fine Art and Design from the Crawford College of Art and Design (2011), a Higher Diploma in Art and
Design Teaching (2012), earned an Masters in Education from the Open University (2017), and has eleven years’ experience teaching art in established alternative settings.
Cáit Ní Dhuinnín is a visual artist and educator from Cork City. Her practice is grounded in materials, places, slowness, the body, and movement. She works across different media and various materials, including moving image, sculpture, and participatory installation, amongst others.
Cáit received a BFA from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 2011 and a Higher Diploma in Art and Design Education from LIT in 2012. She received an MFA from the University of the Arts, Helsinki in 2020 where she investigated the materiality of stone in
relation to the human body. She is currently teaching full-time in Cork City.