Helen O’Shea


O’Shea is a Cork based artist who has exhibited internationally. She has developed a practice of sculptural making that directly engages with issues of waste and recycling. By using/reuse existing materials, she creates forms that mimic the natural world and engage our relationship to it.

After exploring Creative Textiles in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa 2007-09, and Fine Art Textiles 2010-12 in MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, O’Shea attained a degree in Contemporary Applied Art in 2017 MTU CCAD. Then went on to undertake a MA by Research in 2021 in MTU, where she focused on new narratives for waste Plastics.

Since graduating O’Shea has exhibited widely in London with Ting-Ying Gallery, as part of Collect Art Fair with Design Crafts Council Ireland, and in the Venetian Homo Faber Event 2022.


A residency in Iceland, in 2015, has left a lasting impression on the work now made by O’Shea. Observing the resourceful use of materials, how they were being utilised to the fullest, and the practice of extracting more from waste impressed and remained with her.

The enduring nature of plastics then became her own focus.  Its durability is problematic when it invades our natural habitat.

O’Shea ‘s research asks us to consider a new relationship to waste plastics. Selection and connection are foregrounded within the tactile nature of her practice. Spending time with a material, and ‘thinking through making’ (Ingold 2013) highlight the material qualities. Concentrated, Investigative, exploration, coupled with the transformative process this provides, help to inspire another way of being with this discarded material.

No longer seeing the waste ‘as matter out of place’ (Douglas in 1966) O’Shea’s work disrupts our sensibilities through subversive aesthetics and offers new possibilities.

Researching deep-water hydrothermal vents where life on this planet is thought to have begun, inspired O’Shea to create futuristic creatures from waste plastics. The sun’s red rays penetrate deep water less than other colours on the spectrum, and so red creatures are nearly invisible. This phenomenon informs the colour choice for my work. 

Website Helenoshea.ie

Email helenosheais@gmail.com

Instagram @helenosheais

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