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Artist – Aoise Tutty & Sarah Ruttle

The Sea’ Is grá geal mo chroí

Bantry General Hospital, St.Joseph’s Ward, Care for the Elderly

A poetic reflection of life on the West Cork coast – adventure, neutrality, caution and fear – remembered by residents of Clonakilty Community Hospital

We began by introducing objects from the shore and materials which created sounds reminiscent of the sea. As we talked about memories and stories connected to the sea, participants drew from seashells both on paper and fabric, choosing colours and fabrics which worked for them. These elements were to be included in our growing story and filmmaking process.

Aoise introduced the different aspects of filmmaking including story, script, sound, camera and direction and worked with a projector to add another layer to the creative filmmaking process. She showed the group the idea of capturing things on camera and how that could make up shots of a film. Participants had the opportunity to record sound both by listening and contributing to the audio bed of the film process. Instruments of AfH musician Marie Laure Hass were brought in as part of this and participants were able to direct the sound until it sounded as close to ‘the sea’ as possible. Off site Aoise and Sarah filmed in some of the places in the locality that participants had been to, filming elements discussed in the group and incorporating ideas that the group had contributed to. Each week they built upon previous sessions to incorporate new elements, sharing the footage and audio that had previously been recorded and asking for feedback from the group. As part of this the group considered aspects to the process such as content, depth of field and composition details. Some of the things that were filmed as part of this process included hedgerow berries, shells (both real and made), fabric blowing in the wind, long grass, cliffs and various tidal, sea and river water shots. The tool of using a circular shape, akin to a port hole became a key aspect in how the film became woven together.

There were connections with songs of the sea and in particular ‘The Sea, oh the sea… Is grá geal mo chroí.’ which became a link in conversation and in the stories development. We collected dried grass, seaweed and plants to introduce another element in shadow work across film projections. Using the projector, participants were able to see how shots were made and then worked together with different elements building up film shots. As part of filming to bring parts of the story alive we created a sense of the wind indoors with participants holding fabrics in front of a blowing fan, crossing over paper cuts made from transfers of the participants drawings.

Musician Fiona Kelleher provided music for the film. Aoise brought all these different aspects together and worked on editing the film, completing it in collaboration with Sarah and participants of Clonakilty Community Hospital.


‘It was a really interesting collaboration working with Aoise as a film maker and all of the elements we needed to consider to figure out how to support participants to make a film rather than be a part in a film. As a visual artist I wanted to be able to support participants’ making of elements which would create a visual impact in and through the filming and I feel the editing of the film has integrated each layer of making.’ Sarah.

‘This was an ambitious project and it did require a constant checking in, renegotiating and adapting to changing group size and dynamics however I was very pleased with how we were able to navigate the ever changing terrain and still keep our project aim integral to each new element we added. Working with Sarah was very enjoyable, her depth and breadth of experience helped me to be able to work in a fluid manner and through each new challenge I learned a lot. The participants enjoyment of seeing the film come together and looking at the ‘outside’ elements within the hospital environment was beautiful to observe. There was a wonderful feeling of everyone working together throughout the process which made it feel very rewarding for all involved.’ Aoise.