In shop windows in Bantry, West Cork, for a week or so last August, as well as the official Ellen Hutchins Exhibition and Botanical Art Trail, there were also photographs of seaweed specimens (dried plants on paper) of hers from the Herbarium in the Botany Department, Trinity College Dublin and the Natural History Museum, London, and watercolour drawings of hers held by Museums Sheffield (Yorkshire, England). These three institutions kindly gave permission for the photographs to be displayed in the shop windows during the Ellen Hutchins Festival 2016. This was a wonderful opportunity to see the detailed work that Ellen did in spreading out the seaweeds so carefully on the paper to make the specimens, and the exquisite detail that she captured in her drawings. If you were in Bantry, and found them, you could use the QR code beside them to find out more about them, or you can still click here for that information.
Botany is in focus in Bantry, West Cork until Sunday 28th August (Heritage Week) with walks, talks and exhibitions as part of the Ellen Hutchins Festival. Ellen was Ireland’s first female botanist and the young woman who put Bantry Bay firmly on the map as far as botany is concerned, and seaweeds in particular.
Seaweeds feature prominently in the exhibition of prints of Ellen’s drawings of seaweed and photographs of her specimens (dried plants on paper) which opened on Saturday 20th August. Unlike normal exhibitions, this one takes to the streets, and is in shop windows across Bantry town centre and in Bantry Credit Union, Bantry Library and the Tourist Office. There are also sites in Ballylickey and Glengarriff. See here for more information.
In the evening on Thursday 25th, at the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry, there is a talk and panel discussion on Ellen: her story, her botany and her art, and before this a Pop Up exhibition with some of Ellen’s letters and books, and materials relating to rediscovering her story. Click here for more.
If you fancy picking up a paint brush and being given expert guidance on how to draw plants, there is a one day botanical art workshop, run by award winning artist, Shevaun Doherty, in the gardens and stables at Bantry House on Friday 26th. Shevaun welcomes all levels of experience and none, and says that the day will be relaxing, enjoyable and above all fun.
On Saturday 27th, upstairs in Organico Cafe in Bantry, you can drop by and see Shevaun in action, in a demonstration of her botanical art. The demo runs from 10am to 12 noon. Members of the Hutchins family will be there with prints of Ellen’s drawings.
A few places are still available for the botanical art workshop, see here for booking details, and information on the other events within the Festival.