While County Limerick has given many notable things to the world - from a wealth of artistic and cultural events and institutions to such
people as broadcaster Terry Wogan and current President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins - it isn't necessarily a locality that one would associate with woodturning. If there is one person who represents an exception to
that rule, however, it has to be Liam Flynn, the Abbeyfeale native who has been described by the Limerick Leader as "one of the foremost artists in wood of his generation."
It isn't merely the local
media that accords Flynn such status. His work - crafted from Irish hardwoods and lathe-turned while the wood is still green - has found its way into the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the
Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the National Museum of Ireland, among many others.
Known for his inner rimmed vessels and barrel forms, Flynn has become known as a great
'reader' of wood. The artist has said that when he examines a piece of a tree, he is interested in the grain structure, adding: "I am designing the piece as I am looking and I am drawing out roughly what size log
of wood I am going to cut." His "log" is then hefted onto a lathe and moved around, the woodturner explaining: "I am reading it. In a way, I am reading the material."
shapes of Flynn's pieces are attributable to the particular way in which the wood dries or distorts itself as part of his woodturning process. In Liam's words, "It is an interplay between the material and its
natural drying and my own stamp." The artist is more interested in shape and texture than in the nature of the wood, but he is also enthralled by the constant learning opportunities that the practice of woodturning
affords him. As he puts it himself: "I am still finding new things. I keep adapting and learning new things. My approach is changing a little now. I don't worry about the technical side so much."
highlights of Flynn's incredible career to date include the appearance of his work on a special edition stamp to mark the Year of Craft in Ireland in 2011, as well as solo exhibitions in recent years at the Oliver Sears
Gallery in Dublin and Beaux Arts Bath. With so much achieved already, it's fair to say that we are extremely excited to discover what the future will hold for such an accomplished and celebrated woodturner!