Tuesday 31 May 2016

Ancient bog oak at heart of Rush Library exhibition

Published 04/09/2012 | 18:16

RUSH Library has just finished its successful run of a captivating exhibition of fine bog oak pieces and watercolours by artist, Jim Kelly.

Jim was born and reared in North Leitrim in an area rich in natural surroundings. His thoughts every day and through every season were filled with the wonders of nature in all its revealing forms, with its power to create and mould a landscape rich in treasures, some temporarily hidden. He was soon to become aware that while people shaped words, sounds and inventions the soil below gifted us with treasures â?“ bog oak. His exhibition ran through August at the library and consisted of pieces which lay submerged in the soil for 1,000s of years and can rightly be classified as part of our collective heritage. The oak unearthed from the bog requires some two years plus to dry out and become workable. It is then cleaned, all rot removed and polished to a fine finish. Jim favours maintaining the original shape of the wood and presenting it as nature intended. No effort or machining is used to modify his pieces into anything functional or artificial in shape. It is born of the soil and it is truly natures gift in its twisted beauty and individuality. Its attractiveness lies in its shapes, its blackness, its feel and its mysterious origins. Carbon dating of some Irish bog oak pieces has revealed an existence of some 3,000 to 5,000 years. Not content with working bog oak, Jim has also turned his hand to painting and parallel to the oak he was displaying a number of oil and watercolour paintings.

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