A career carved out of wood

Nathan clon

Posted on: 17th January, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Above: One of the new fairy houses in Clonakilty

Just before Christmas, Nathan Solomon was seen wielding his chainsaw at the top of McCurtain Hill in Clonakilty. Fascinated passersby stopped to watch, as with each stroke of this mighty tool, forlorn-looking tree stumps were very quickly transformed into mythical creatures, animals, birds and fairy houses.

Nathan Solomon is a chainsaw artist. Originally from the UK, he moved to West Cork over 22 years ago and lives with his family in Drimoleague. Starting off with a chainsaw set from Coillte, Nathan initially cut firewood for sale and developed his skills as a furniture maker, before starting to create chainsaw sculptures, which he has been doing full-time for the past 10 years.

A lot of his commissions come from clients who are removing a tree from their land but want to do something artistic and productive with the stump of the tree. “Quite often the tree dictates what you can and can’t create out of a piece, so I do my best to work around that,” Nathan explains. “I recently finished a job in West Cork that involved making a mermaid out of a big fallen Scotch Pine. By the time I had cut away everything that was rotting, the face of mermaid had emerged. It just all came together.”

Chainsaw artist  Nathan Solomon on his four tonne throne carved from a 200-year-old oak tree at Fota Island Resort.

Chainsaw artist Nathan Solomon on his four tonne throne carved from a 200-year-old oak tree at Fota Island Resort.

One of the pieces Nathan is most proud of is a four tonne throne that he just completed at Fota Island Resort. “It’s carved out of a 200-year-old oak tree and features dolphins jumping out of the waves. It’s a very playful piece and was a real privilege to work on a piece of wood like this.”

Another sculpture that Nathan was very satisfied with was a druid he carved in the Mealagh Valley. “Inspired by an ancient story, it’s 15ft tall and set into the corner of a wall on a beautiful road. You discover the druid as you walk along it.”

“I’m lucky that people leave me at it most of the time,” says Nathan. The project in Clonakilty is the story of a magical village, as a child would look at it…looking in a little fairy door or up a stairs with lots of room for the imagination to roam free.

“In my youth I was idealistic and didn’t think trees should be cut down at all,” says Nathan. “But living and working with timber, I learned that management and use of timber is quite essential. To take a tool like a chainsaw and use it to create something beautiful out of wood makes me very proud.”

To see more of Nathan’s work or to get in touch with him go to www.facebook.com/wyrdwoods/ or email: wyrdcircle@gmail.com.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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