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The Soil Project

The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 2024

The Soil Project is an annual commission at Butler Gallery which supports invited artists to create participatory projects which connect deeply with the environment, the world around us and the soil beneath our feet. I am delighted to be the invited artist for 2024. 


Ten mini plots with the Butler Gallery have been created to investigate soil. Throughout Spring 2024, twenty six students from St Johns Senior School made art, played with soil and grew cabbages from seed. Together, we planted a cabbage seedling into each of these plots. Red cabbage can used as a soil ph indicator. The more acidic the soil, they will grow with a purple hue, the more alkaline the soil, they will grow more blue. If they survive, we'll be using our cabbages to eat and create art in September. Visit the Butler Gallery Here

The triangular plots contain different compost or additions. How do we relate to soil health, waste, creation and depletion today? This location in Kilkenny city was always used to grow vegetables. The clay soil onsite today differs from the prized loamy soil once found here in the 12th Century. In the town planning of Kilkenny city, it was the right of every citizen to own a 'burgage' plot where they could grow thier own vegetables and fruit. In the early 2000's Kilkenny city council used these grounds for the cities horticultural growing. In the 2016/17 archaeological dig, before the site became the Butler Gallery, the charred remains of cabbage, chive and onion seeds were found here. 


Copper tape has been used as an experiment to deter slugs and snails. Cabbage collars made from recycled carpet are to deter the cabbage root fly. Sage has been planted around the edges as a strong smelling herb with medicinal properties, to also help deter cabbage white butterfly. We hope these cabbages and sage grow over the summer. If you see any slugs or snails, please do pick them off!


June, 2024


April, 2024


March, 2024

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