Tapestry of Light – a new publication on Ireland’s bogs and wetlands by photographer Tina Claffey.
Tapestry of Light – Ireland’s bogs and wetlands as never seen before by Tina Claffey and published by Artisan House Connemara will be launched on Thursday, 12th October, 2017 in Tailor’s Hall, Dublin.
Tapestry of Light is a stunningly beautiful book containing Tina Claffey’s unique perspective of the flora and fauna of the unspoilt raised bogs and wet woodlands of the Irish midlands. The habitat value of raised bogs arises from their rich diversity of flora such as bog-rosemary, cranberries, lichens and sundews, all of which thrive in the sphagnum mosses which also support a wide variety of fauna, including butterflies, moths, dragonflies, frogs and spiders.
The foreword to Tapestry of Light is by geologist, botanist and broadcaster, Dr. John Feehan. The title ‘Tapestry of Light’ is taken from the eponymous poem by John Sheahan. John’s poetry is included in the book.
Tina Claffey’s interest in her home area and in particular the bogs and wetlands, she attributes to the influence of her father, to whom the book is dedicated, and to time spent in Botswana photographing pristine wilderness. ‘On my return to Ireland, I felt quite lost for some time but then I went on a field walk led by John Feehan in Killaun Bog. That walk was an epiphany for me. Here on my doorstep was a wilderness with as much significance as the Kalahari desert’.
Matthijs Schouten, ecologist and founder of the Dutch Foundation for the Conservation of Irish Bogs, will launch the book. ‘Never before have I seen the magic of bogs captured so beautifully as in this book. The photographs and poems lead us into a truly enchanted world.’
Matthijs Schouten is Professor of restoration ecology at Wageningen University and also an adjunct professor at UCC, he became known as “the father of bog conservation in Ireland” and was knighted in 2004 by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for the prominent role he played in bringing the fate of Irish bogs to international attention.
The foundation raised sufficient funds in the late 1980s to purchase three endangered sites – Scragh Bog, in Co Westmeath; Cummeragh River bog, in Co Kerry, and Clochar na gCon bog, in Co Galway – and gifted them to the Irish nation.
The book is available in two editions, a standard hardback edition and a special limited edition of 75 copies which contains gatefolds and an original print signed, dated and numbered by Tina Claffey which is suitable for framing.
Note for editor
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Author and Photographer: Tina Claffey
Tina Claffey, photographic artist, lives in the Irish midlands, a location that holds an endless fascination for her keen eye.
She returned to live in her native Birr, Co. Offaly, in 2009 having lived and worked in Botswana, southern Africa, for almost nine years. Her time and experience in pristine
wilderness areas in Botswana ignited her appreciation of Ireland’s natural world.
Tina has shown her images of the flora and fauna of the preserved raised bogs and wetlands of the midlands in numerous exhibitions, most recently in Elements (2017), Seoda – Treasure of the Wetlands (2014) and Seoda – Treasure Under Foot (2013).
Capturing her desired shot and original perspective often requires Tina to wait patiently, lie down or climb up, position her camera and wait for the moment. She uses all Canon equipment: her camera is a Canon 7D, her lenses include a 16–35mm F2.8L, a 24–105mm F4L, a telephoto lens 70–200mm F2.8L and a 100mm F2.8L macro lens.
Tina holds a BA (Hons) in Photography & Printmaking from the Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork, and her work has been commissioned by the National Sculpture Factory, Bord na Móna, the Environmental Protection Agency and Lifes2Good. She was awarded a Per Cent for Art commission by the OPW for a public art project in Crinkill National School, Co. Offaly. In 2017, one of Tina’s images was presented to Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, at the launch of the Community Wetlands Forum Strategic Plan 2017–2020.
Poet: John Sheahan
John Sheahan is one of Ireland’s best known musicians. Born in Dublin in 1939, he was a member of The Dubliners from 1964 to 2012. He has played with musicians the world over and has guested on numerous folk, traditional and rock recordings. His own compositions, among them The Marino Waltz and Autumn in Paris, have become essential elements of the Irish musical repertoire. In 2013 he was conferred with an honorary doctorate in music from Trinity College, Dublin. In 2014 the television documentary John Sheahan – A Dubliner received two IFTA awards. In 2015 his debut collection of poems and lyrics, Fiddle Dreams, was published by Dedalus Press.
John and Tina met in 2013 when they collaborated on a TG4 Imeall programme featuring the unique images that Tina captures in Ireland’s bogs. Having read some of John’s poems, Tina felt that one of them, ‘Tapestry of Light’, offered a natural title for this collection.
Introduction: John Feehan
John Feehan, geologist, botanist and writer, is well known for his award-winning television work on the natural and cultural heritage of the Irish landscape, for which he received a Jacobs’ Award. His many books include the definitive textbook on Ireland’s peatlands, The Bogs of Ireland: an introduction to the natural, cultural and industrial heritage of Ireland’s peatlands, the widely acclaimed Farming in Ireland: History, Heritage and Environment, and The Grasses of Ireland, (Feehan, Sheridan and Egan), a popular book on Ireland’s grasslands. John has also written several books on the geology, environmental heritage and history of the Irish midlands. He has been described by Michael Viney as ‘one of Ireland’s top ecologists and communicators of nature’.
Publisher: Artisan House
Award-winning Artisan House is based in Letterfrack, Connemara, Ireland. Established in 2013 Artisan House create beautifully illustrated high-quality books and bespoke publications on a richly diverse range of subjects including food and lifestyle, photography and the visual arts, music and poetry.
Directors: Creative Vincent Murphy Editorial Mary Ruddy
Tapestry of Light
Silver netting of the dawn, Embroidered through the silent night, Woven into dewy webs,
Suspended tapestry of light.
Cobwebs greet the morning air, Strings of priceless jewels glistening, Veiling gateway, bush and tree, Lending wonder to our waking.
Nature’s gift holds me enthralled, Treasure of the dawning day,
Till the fairy breezes call, Stealing all my dreams away
© John Sheahan