The artist’s name is Niamh Synnott and she is from Dublin. Niamh grew up in the Botanic Gardens. Perhaps this beautiful home has given her such a beautiful eye for colour. Her own creative and artistic talents were encouraged by her 6th class teacher and that was part of the inspiration behind her idea for Spréach.
Niamh’s family, especially her Dad Donal and her brother Brian were on hand at all times to support her as she created and installed this artwork which is 12 foot tall with an added 2 foot to each ‘spréach’ (the golden star shaped sparks).
The word ‘Spréach’ means spark or stimulus. The artist’s inspiration for the piece was our school motto ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.’ (Praise youth and it will thrive.) The symbol of a spark was used to represent a child’s talent which can be ignited and grow through encouragement into something beautiful.
Spréach is made out of steel, concrete and ceramic outdoor tiles. The colours are made with glazes, which are made from different coloured glass fired in a kiln on top of the tiles. A lot of care was taken in choosing various colours and contrasting types of glazes. This is why they compliment each other so well.
Spréach should not fade or need much maintenance. As part of the commission the artist will provide maintenance for a set period of time.
Spréach weighs roughly 2 tonnes and had to transported from the artist’s studio in Co. Louth to Bennekerry by truck. One of the truck driver’s recent jobs also weighed approximately 2 tonnes. It was a baby elephant he had to move from Dublin Zoo!
There is a small space inside the piece which will be used as a kind of time capsule. The artist has a neighbour who has been eagerly watching progress as the piece was being created in Niamh’s studio. She is a lady in her 90’s and she gave Niamh a rosary beads which is the first item to be placed in the time capsule. Each class will contribute something to this, possibly on the day of the School Opening. Ideas for what might be created by each class is a hot topic at the moment – we’ll have to wait and see!
The children will be responding to Spréach over the next few weeks with discussions, lessons and artwork. The present 3rd classes attended workshops with the artist, Niamh, in June of last year. They made ceramic circular slabs with pictures representing their own special talents.