Emmet Kane is a self-taught sculptor and woodturner based in Kildare. His award-winning sculptures have been exhibited throughout Ireland, France, the UK and the US. His work has also been presented to former Taoisigh, Presidents and the EU commissioner.

‘Taisce’, Oak Burl Ebonised with 23c Gold Leaf and Graphite, 89 x 5cm.

Where did you spend lockdown?   

I was in Ireland .

Did you have access to a studio during this time? If not, how did you continue to create work? 

I am one of the lucky ones who was in my studio every day during the Irish lockdown.

Emmet Kane’s Studio

Did you experiment with any new materials or methodologies?  

For the first few weeks I didn’t make anything as I found I was very distracted and overwhelmed with the uncertainty in the country and the world. I just couldn’t get motivated to create so I decided to use the time to clean the studio and do some jobs that were on the to do list for many years. I did everything I could think of but make or experiment. It was as if my creative mind was in quarantine.

‘Tulips of Gold’, Ebonised Oak with 23.5c Gold Leaf on Bleach Holly, 35 x 14.5 cm.

Given the limitations and restrictions of the last few months, did your art making process change at all?  If so, do you think this will continue to change how you will make art going forward?  

Towards the end of April, I started to experiment again and found a piece of very hard iron wood which was an off-cut that someone gave me years ago and it was left out side to weather over the last 5 years which gave it a great silver like finish.

Did you have any projects during this time that went ahead?

I had one commission which was to be delivered at end of April for an event which was cancelled so I eventually got it finished and delivered it last week. I also had an interesting and unusual project which came as a result of the lockdown. I am known as a woodturner locally and in late May I was approached to create an auctioneers gavel which were going to have electronic switches fitted inside and were going to be used for remote online cattle marts as they were closed to the public. This was a collaboration of wood and 21st century technology and the use of one of the oldest crafts skills in the world. From the making of a prototype in early May, I went on to create over 30 gavels which a young team in Aigcam are in the process of fitting to called marts around the country and creating a revolution in the auction world.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

As people and businesses are slowly getting use to the new normal, people are getting a little more confident and are starting to talk about commissioning.

All photographs were provided by Emmet Kane. To see more of Emmet’s work visit his website and Instagram.