A shield commemorating Brian Ború in his birthplace will be unveiled in Killaloe this Saturday afternoon.
Locals and visitors will be able to admire this piece of sculpture, which was forged by turning pieces of “scrap” copper into a Brian Ború “treasure”. It will be mounted on the wall outside the Killaloe Library/Brian Ború Heritage Centre for the enjoyment of passers-by.
This piece was commissioned this year by the Féile Brian Ború committee to commemorate the famous High King.
During Féile Brian Ború in July, the pieces for this unique mural were created by adults and children, who took part in copper craft workshops with silversmith, Suzi Lewisohn at the CELT Traditional Craft Experience.
The shield is a two-dimensional copper sculpture, using different techniques, including stampwork, riveting and wirework.
This artwork was created and finished by East Clare-based blacksmith, Mark Wilson and the design for the piece was taken from a woodcut created by artist and printmaker, Suzannah O’Reilly, with the help of Ballinahinch National School, during the Artists in Schools Scheme earlier this year.
Mr Wilson transferred the design onto copper pieces with the help of local children and adults at the workshop and finished it off in his own studio.
“It is a great piece of community art that will be there for future generations. We used recycled copper from copper cylinders and the green is its natural colour.
“This project is all about turning scrap into treasure. The copper artwork will be welded on to a steel frame,” he said.
Aidan O’Leary, Ballina, Killaloe, was one of the teenagers who participated in the CELT workshop, making the lines for the church for the copper mural.
This was his first time participating in a traditional workshop and he hopes to be in a position to pursue this craft over the coming years.
He found the workshop very interesting. It provided him with food for thought, as he enters transition-year in St Anne’s Community College, Killaloe, next September.
“The Féile Brian Ború committee felt that this was a fantastic way to commemorate Brian Ború in his native place and also to get the community involved in creating this piece, which we hope will be in Killaloe for years to come” said committee chairperson, John Grimes.
“It is a stunning piece of unique artwork and we would like to thank everyone who was involved in making it possible,” he added.
Mr Grimes has been on the Féile Brian Ború committee since 1993 and, even when it was set up, members were planning towards 2014.
He is very excited to have reached this stage and to have a reminder of the event for the future.
Susan Lewisohn, a silversmith from Tulla, has also played a key role in the project.
Having worked 15 years a silversmith, Ms Lewisohn has been working with CELT for the last 10 years.
“It will be a fantastic piece of artwork. The children at the workshops really enjoyed doing the stampwork with the copper. It is an ancient metalwork craft, using simple yet effective techniques.
“It was nice to use real metal and real materials and for the children to get their hands around it. Copper is a soft medal but it has sharp edges if you cut it wrong. We have been teaching children how to file edges, punch holes, use the hammer and chisel correctly.
“Children were also shown how to design their own piece of artwork, which they could take away with them. They can use the artwork as a keyring or put it on their schoolbag or hang it up on the house.
“The workshop was all about using traditional materials craftwork and handwork and doing things children would never have a chance of doing. It requires patience and enthusiasm,” she said.