It's in the Trees

by Lian Callaghan

Medium: Mixed Media /Collage

Dimensions: W: 26cm H: 56cm

Not for sale

In 2016 I worked on ‘Shhh, Did You Hear That???’, a picture book for children on the subject of Ogham, the ancient and mysterious language of the Celts, which is also known as ‘the language of the trees’.

‘It’s in the Trees’ was previously shown in the group exhibition ‘Spellbound’, at Film Base, Temple Bar. In choosing to submit this work for Signal’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition, I’d like to give a nod to Signal Arts Centre founding member Jim Morrison, who had a great interest in Celtic history, and I would also like to say a big thanks to Signal Arts Centre for being there, supporting us wandering artists on our journeys. Wishing Signal a bright future in the years to come!

Born and brought up in Shankill, Co. Dublin, I studied Fine Art in N.C.A.D. during the period when performance art was emerging and the video camera was the newest kid on the block. I veered towards textile/installation art and worked outdoors on the beach in Shankill during much of my final year.

In the Irish Exhibition of Living Art that year I was awarded a prize. This was much to my own surprise and the bemusement of my dear long suffering father whose services had once more been called upon, this time to transport my bags of stones from Shankill beach to the Douglas Hyde Gallery for the event.

From 1983 to ’87 I worked in the Abbey Theatre’s design department. I then went free-lance and worked on scenic and decorative projects in theatres, pubs, clubs and private houses all over Ireland. During that time I also became involved in film production where I worked in the costume department, making, dyeing and distressing costumes and working on set.

After a decade in the film business I realised that I needed to get back to nature and more creative pursuits. I started to use willow as a sculptural as well as a craft material, and this led on to my becoming involved in environmental projects, community arts and teaching.

In 2011, having completed three years in Signal Arts Centre, I moved to Cloughjordan in Co. Tipperary, the home of Ireland’s first eco-village, in pursuit of the ideal of a sustainable lifestyle.

I have been a member of the Crafts Council’s Educational Panel since 2010, facilitating their CRAFTed projects in primary schools, and until the virus put normal life on hold, have been working for the Tipperary Education and Training Board on art and craft projects with community groups in North Tipperary and the surrounding areas.