One of the features of the landscape is the extensive bogland, which nature was indeed very generous in allocating to the Inishowen Peninsula of Co Donegal. The presence of these tree remains, found in the course of cutting turf, is evidence of the existence in the remote past of great forests of Fir and Oak. It is also this bogland that gives Mary the material which she works on, Bog Oak and Bog Deal, carbon dated to be 6,000 old, 4,000 years before Christ walked this earth.

Once the Bog Oak has been unearthed Mary must let it dry naturally by storing it in an open shelter; this can take between 4 and 6 years. When the bog oak is first taken from the bogs it gives a brown hue but once it meets the oxygen, the wood takes on an ebony colour.  Once it has dried the wood takes on a deeper black colour. Once the bogwood has dried Mary begins the long task of bringing the piece to life.

 

This process is very time consuming, Mary begins to remove the dead wood with a mallet and chisel and from this stage she finds an abstract shape or an idea of an image and works with that to develop it further.  Once she has got the shape she sands it carefully to the desired form.  Mary then coats it with linseed oil a couple of times over several days and finishes the piece off with beeswax, Mary makes her own beeswax polish for this purpose.  The beeswax gives it that natural sheen which requires no further polishing or care. 

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Comment by Douglas McMahon on May 13, 2015 at 8:46pm

Her work is incredible! What an interesting origin of the pieces too.

Comment by Mary Doherty on May 29, 2015 at 10:26am
Thanks Douglas

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