Helen's work on display at the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin.

Cloughjordan artist selected for prestigious national exhibition

Cloughjordan artist Helen Costello has been chosen from an international list of applicants to create and display work that responds to the surroundings of the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin for the annual Sculpture in Context Exhibition. 

Helen entered the competition with a piece called ’Unison’ which, she explains, mirrors her everyday work in combining the use of old castaway/found objects with her made ceramic pieces.  Helen states that having designed the piece, she found the plough, which was destined for the scrapyard, locally. 

She goes on to explain that the next stage of the work was to create a life size depiction of a draught horse’s leg at work.  Helen admits she ‘fell in love with clay as it is such a versatile medium, and its possibilities are endless.  While many people see beauty in something new and shiny, she is drawn to old and worn objects which she incorporates in her work as a ceramicist.

The original purpose of the Botanical Gardens was to promote a scientific approach to the study of agriculture.  From 1795-1830 the Gardens of Glasnevin demonstrated plants that were useful for animal and human food as well as for medicine.  The history of the Gardens, the discarded plough and the unprecedented times we are now living in became the focus of the concept of ‘Unison’. This piece brings the focus of the natural together with the manmade; demonstrating the stresses of life in both steel and tendon.  ‘Unison’ strives to capture the evolution of life, of nature, and of science while simultaneously demonstrating that together we can move forward, turning over a new sod.

Sculpture in Context was set up in 1985 to raise the profile of sculpture and provide a platform for artists outside of the normal gallery context.  This is the 18th year that Sculpture in Context has run in the Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin, since it was established in 1985.  Normally dotted around the gardens are more than 120 works from national and international artists.

However this year, due to Covid, the exhibition is virtual.



Helen’s work can be viewed on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/p/CE3vWYaHNZ2/?igshid=1je04wgda4951

Or the entire exhibition can be viewed at:


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