‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to, and welcome, this important publication which so evocatively captures the importance of trees to our world, and their power to create lasting and enduring connections in so many ways.’
President Michael D. Higgins, extract from foreword to forthcoming publication from Artisan House Publishing See The Wood From The Trees by Marion McGarry & Dermot O’Donovan.
Artisan House is delighted to announce the imminent release of a unique and prestigious publication created by Artisan House in association with GMIT Letterfrack. ‘We are very proud to be associated with this title. We are neighbours with the GMIT Letterfrack campus and are very familiar with the beautiful work that is created there and to have the opportunity to work with President Higgins and with Áras an Uachtaráin is indeed a privilege’.
The publication, See The Wood From The Trees, by Marion McGarry & Dermot O’Donovan documents the story of trees felled by storms in Áras an Uachtaráin and subsequently gifted by the President, Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, to GMIT Letterfrack to be used by students. Around this simple but inspired gesture, the book tells of the chequered history of trees in Ireland as well as the story of Áras an Uachtaráin and the plantations in its grounds, and the remarkable story of the transformation of Letterfrack Industrial School into the prestigious GMIT campus in Letterfrack.
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, has long supported developments in Letterfrack, it, of course, being a part of his constituency when he was TD for Galway West. In a thoughtful foreword he speaks of the connection between Áras an Uachtaráin and Letterfrack as ‘one founded on innovation and artistic vision’ and recalls that ‘beautifully designed pieces of furniture, created by students and graduates of GMIT Letterfrack are now an integral part of the Áras. The Presidential Inauguration Chair used in my inauguration in 2011 was designed by Letterfrack graduate John Lee, and the lecterns in Áras an Uachtaráin were designed and made by students and staff’.
The authors, Marion McGarry and Dermot O’Donovan are both staff members of the National Centre of Excellence for Furniture Design and Wood Technology, GMIT Letterfrack. Dr. McGarry is an art historian and lecturer and Mr. O’Donovan is Head of Centre in Letterfrack.
Architect and broadcaster, Duncan Stewart, provides the introduction to the book and highlights the threat to the survival of our planet ‘over the past five decades, as the human population doubled, the populations of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have plummeted. We have lost up to two-thirds of wildlife populations. Extinctions of species are accelerating, and it is projected that by 2050 we could witness the extinction of up to 50 per cent of all the diverse species with which we share earth’s biosphere’.
Sounding a more hopeful note, Duncan goes on to say that ‘for me, the outstanding element of this book is its potential to act as an exemplar for forms of synergy, symbiosis, and collaboration that could be replicated across Ireland, across Europe, across the globe. We urgently need to wake up to the reality of climate change, loss of biodiversity, widespread pollution, and unprecedented waste. This needs to happen in every community, whether rural or urban, in a coordinated, collaborative, and effective manner. The story told in this book gives us a model of how one community embraced the opportunity to create an imaginative educational experience and enhance the appreciation of students, staff, and the wider community to the amazing potential of wood.’
See the Wood from the Trees by Marion McGarry and Dermot O’Donovan will be treasured and will hold a special place on any bookshelf. It is informative and complemented by its excellent expressive visuals and by the inclusion of poems by Theo Dorgan written while on a residency in Farmleigh entitled The Farmleigh Tree Alphabet. It is appropriate that this beautifully designed book is published by Artisan House, Letterfrack, whose commitment to high production values and design echoes the vision of GMIT Letterfrack for the creation of beautiful objects.
The book will be published by Artisan House Connemara in June 2018 in three formats: a hardback edition; a special limited edition; and Special Deluxe limited edition.