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Plant-tastic: Inspired by Nature
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A collaboration between Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and Offaly Local Development Company, curated and produced by Ann Lawlor & supported by Creative Ireland Offaly 

Plant-tastic: Inspired by Nature.


London based designer & public artist Cristina Ottonello will engage with young people ages 12 - 14 on the Ashbrooke, Chesterfield Close and McAuley estates in Birr and explore a range of Offaly plants and their usefulness. 

With a local botanist, the artist and participants will investigate the extraordinary characteristics of local plants, and how these plants have and can inspire innovation and creativity. 

Through a creative research process a specific number of "hero plants" will be identified and the botanical features/components that have biomimetic and adaptation features will be creatively replicated/reinterpreted through crafting processes using reusable and recyclable materials. These specific features will be magnified in scale to explore the textures, shapes and unique elements to their botanical structure.

The resulting artworks will not be exact botanical replicas of the original plant but imaginative re-interpretations through the prism of young minds.

The project will culminate with an exhibition at Birr Courthouse as part of Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival, 29 July – 7 August.

The project also includes a number of public talks that will take place at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre including a thrilling presentation from Lara Jewitt, Science Collection Coordinator/ Head of Tropical Nursery at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on orchids and their adaptability, with incredible stories such as the Brazilian bat orchid, Coryanthes speciosa, that traps bees in its bucket-like labellum until they have pollinated it. 

Plant-Tastic aims to give the young participants and audience members an opportunity to find out more about local plants - developing an understanding of the usefulness of plants through the lens of biomimicry and adaptation features.

This project is a collaboration between Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and Offaly Local Development Company - Community, Education & Youth Work. It is curated and produced by Ann Lawlor and supported by Creative Ireland Offaly as part of the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Offaly County Council

Project Overview

First Workshop: 













Cristina facilitated 2 days of workshops at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre – exploring a range of crafting techniques with the young participants from the Ashbrooke, Chesterfield Close and McAuley estates.

First Workshops
Exploring local plants

Exploring local plants with Mary Bulfin: 

 A walk of ‘plant wonder’ from Birr Theatre & Arts Centre to the Ashbrooke, Chesterfield Close and McAuley estates, led by Mary Bulfin with her incredible knowledge on local plants, their medicinal, cooking and folkloric properties and value,  and the importance of plants in our lives and support of extensive ecosystems. 


Mary connects people to their places and heritage through exploration, observation and use of wild plants.
Mary has a background in science, cookery, and natural medicine, and foraging has been part of her life since she started accompanying her granny on woodland strolls as a child.

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About the artist :

Italian born, Cristina Ottonello is an artist and designer specialising in outdoor art and in the creation of large-scale temporary installations with a strong visual impact and wide-reaching public involvement.

Her work uses a surreal approach to the world of nature that is reinvented as an irreverent fantasy of intriguing objects and wonderful creatures that provide an unexpected and fairy-tale presence in the urban landscape.

For more information on Cristina's work take a look at her website:

About the artist
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