Helen Conneely is a sculptor who works in bog oak, a material that she discovered through working with Bord na Mona in the 1980s. Her work ranges from large scale public art to small sculptures and wearable pieces.Celtic Roots was established in 1990 and has been based in Ballinahown, County Westmeath, since 1998. The wood with which she works is sourced from Lough Boora Parklands, County Offaly. Her larger pieces are made to commission and include Metamorphosis (2011) a wall-mounted piece for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, which relates the curved forms of bog oak to sound waves.
'When I first saw the bog it was like a graveyard of trees – useless, distressed, and sad. In pre-Christian times those trees were sacred and valued. As I began to understand their history, I felt that I was connecting with something ancient. There is a five-thousand year old energy in the wood. When I am working with it, I have to respect that energy. Bog wood is a beautiful and difficult material – like stone – very dense to carve. I peel off the dead bark to reveal the flow of the magnificent roots and release the form that I see within them. Working with the wood, this ancient material, has been my journey. That’s where I am – in the roots' - Helen Conneely