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Keekill Boat Launch by Veronica Straberger

Veronica Straberger and Keekill Community

Keekill Boat launch – the making

‘Keekill Boat Launch’ – The Making:
With these images we tell the story of harvesting local clay on the shores of Lough Corrib. In neighbourhood meitheals the villagers of Keekill come together to dig local clay and form clay boats to tell their own individual stories. Fabled Tales of Icelandic Viking Dragon Boats with Mythical Faery Creatures, Bronze Age Log Boats, Piracy On The Lake and stories of Fishing and Farming.
By launching our boats we share our sense of belonging, our rootedness to our local landscape and our dreams for the future.

Keekill Boat launch – the Pitfiring

Our Keekill neighbourhood project concludes with a pit firing. Following in the footsteps of the Keekill brickmakers, we fire our clay pieces in a pit. First we dig a pit. Then we nestle our clay boats in sawdust. Carefully we stack kindling and fire wood and pit fire our vessels over night. Next day we dig through soil and ashes to find our hidden treasures. Through water and fire, moulded by our hands we hold the memories of our clay journeys.

Keekill Boat launch 

‘Born Of The Land’

In Keekill, Killeany, Cloughanover, Co. Galway lies a hidden treasure. Clay buried in the soil. Recorded in the 1911 census fourteen Keekill families lived off the land, harvesting clay, shaping it into bricks, firing it in pits and shipping it on Lough Corrib to Galway and Cong.
The year 2020 finds the local landscape much changed, with many ‘blow-ins’ occupying new homes and commuting for work elsewhere. In a series of workshops, the local neighbourhood was invited to learn how to dig for clay, how to process it and shape and form it into clay vessels.
‘Born Of The Land’ is a community clay art project created by local ceramicist, Veronika Straberger, to honour the history of those who came before and to mark the changes brought on by a new migrant community.

For more information about the artist.

Veronika Straberger is a ceramic artist living in the small village of Keekill on the shores of Lough Corrib, Co. Galway. In her work she draws on the memory of clay to tell stories of belonging. Following in local traditions she digs her own clay from the soil and continuously explores old and new techniques of craftsmanship. Her work has been exhibited in Austria, France and Ireland.