I feel very privileged that the Begin Together Fund by Business to Arts and Bank of Ireland, have placed their trust in my project “Creative Shackleton”. In Partnership with the Shackleton Museum, I will be exploring Shackleton’s printmaking and bookbinding practices in Antarctica, and explore creativity in his family history.
As printmaker, when I first found out Shackleton brought an Albion letterpress and an etching press to Antarctica I was blown away. I tried to work out how he did it in cramped freezing conditions. When I look at Limerick Printmakers where I am a member, the equipment, the smells of inks, the cleanliness and preparation in printmaking. They had no electricity so heated the ink with a candle. One hundred years ago printmaking would have been quite toxic, they didn’t have the eco practices we have today. Over the next couple of months I’ll be exploring Shackleton’s creative attributes and how they encouraged his leadership qualities. The creative aspects of these expeditions counted for much more than killing time. They engaged and entertained the minds of the men in extreme isolation.
I’ll also be looking at creativity in Shackleton’s family, he came from a line of creatives. His ancestors were also explorers when they founded the village of Ballitore, Co Kildare.
Shackleton wasn’t an academic yet books and learning are in his blood.
I recently moved into the old Quaker Tanyard in Ballitore, a beautifully restored heritage building, it lies in the shadow of the Ballitore library and Quaker Museum. The Quaker Museum was once the home of Mary Shackleton Leadbetter, a poet and writer and advocate for the abolishment of slavery, and the first postmistress in Ireland. Mary was Ernest’s Great Gran Aunt.
Below is the link to the official announcement