Helen O’Shea Ireland, b. 1962

Helen O'Shea is a textile artist based in Cork, Ireland, who has exhibited internationally.  After raising a family and working in a youth work setting for twenty years, she went back to education exploring the field of creative textiles and fine art textiles. In 2017, she graduated with a first-class BA (hons) degree in Contemporary Applied Art from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. She did a residency in Iceland in 2015 funded by Arts Council, which led to a shift in her practice; she was impressed with the way materials were utilised to the fullest. This idea of extracting more out of waste is what has stayed with her. This is the basis of the work she now makes. 


Her work looks at the notional prospect of what is beyond our vision in the depths of the oceans. Inspired by the volume of plastics in the oceans, her imagination has been fuelled by the revelation of colonies of microorganisms growing on the gyres of plastic floating there. The idea of inorganic plastics supporting organic life has offered the framework to explore fictional speculations using waste material.

These intimate creations foreground the mark of the hand using textile sensibilities, while exploring the potential to reuse waste plastics in a contemporary art setting.