Saturday, August 14, 2010

Maughansilly Basket Maker

We got lost on the one-lane farm roads trying to find the row of megalithic stones near Maughansilly, County Cork. A little sign that said “Visitors Welcome” beckoned us up a dirt driveway.

We stopped in the middle of a farmyard inhabited by chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and a teenager with a weed whacker. Bunches of willow withys were soaking in metal troughs. A man hailed us from inside the open doorway of a stone barn, where he sat inside making baskets.

I sketched a quick portrait as we talked. His name is Martin O’Flynn. He is one of only ten master basket makers in all of Ireland. The knowledge almost died out in the 1980s, when cheap plastic ware came in, but he was able to learn from a few of the older men.

IF YOU GO
If you’d like to meet Martin and Yvon and see their handmade baskets, just drive up the Coomhola River from Ballylickey and head over on the single lane road toward Carriganass Castle, or follow the road up the mountains from Kealkill. Don’t try to drive up the path from Dromduff unless you have high ground clearance.

Martin O'Flynn Baskets

11 comments:

Terry said...

What a wonderful serendipitous discovery - I bet you felt like you could stay right there for a month and never get all the potential paintings you saw. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Charles Valsechi III said...

What were you drawing with in this piece? It looks as though some of the lines are colored.

James Gurney said...

Terry, yes, I wish I could have spent more time sketching there.

Charles, I was using a brown and russet Caran d'Ache watercolor pencil with a water brush.

Daroo said...

Great sketch.

Did you take lots of other reference photos? His workshop would make an interesting painting -- I love that door.

Charles Valsechi III said...

Ah, I think I have some of those somewhere. I should give them a shot again. Definitely agree with Daroo, that workshop could make for a nice painting. Seeing your drawing reminded me a bit of the Bouguereau paintings in which the girls are knitting.

Super Villain said...

that is the largest fanny pack i have ever seen?!?

did that master basket maker make you a master fanny pack as well? haha, ONE FANNY PACK TO RULE THEM ALL!

jeff jordan said...

Looks like somebody got a little too much sun.........

Mary Bullock said...

Your directions to the basket maker's house sounds like a beautiful Irish song.

James Gurney said...

Mary, agreed. The only place names in the world that rival Irish names for musicality are those from Africa. Timbuktu and Ouagadougou are as good as Kilkenny and Tipperary.

Dave said...

Love the water colors and the quick sketch guy---wonder if he could help people in the States meet deadlines.?

Richard Smitheman said...

This is a great sketch.