An Erasmus student’s short stay at Cloncannon Biofarm near Moneygall, has inspired her to international artistic success and acclaim.
Following a short stint at Sean O'Farrell's Cloncannon Biofarm at Knockanroger near St. Ruadhan's Church in north Tipperary, French student Hélène Copin has gone on to win a prestigious art award at a French University.
Hélène's touching and funny depictions of life on Sean's farm won her the Coup De Cœur International (Coup International Heart Award), for her book Un Erasmus à Dublin (An Erasmus in Dublin) from the University Blaise Pascal Clermont Ferrand.
Blaise Pascal University organises the international student award for the Student Travel Journal, which distinguishes a student's best travel journal.
Open to all persons registered in an institution of higher education in France or abroad, the competition encourages students to transcribe an experience during a trip in text and images, showcasing the creativity of its author.
Sean told the Tipperary Star that he was contacted by 23-year-old Swiss student Vincent Huron in early 2016, and agreed that he and Hélène could experience rural Ireland first-hand if they helped out on the farm over the weekend of the 19th to the 24th of March.
“Vincent and Helene arrived,” says Sean. “They participated in the farm work, sowing seeds indoors for later transplanting, tending to trees in the woodland, and caring for the donkeys, geese, goats, chickens, cows and calves. They witnessed for the first time a cow giving birth. They went hiking up the Devils Bit mountains. We enjoyed good organic food and wine and sharing stories.
“Hélène had quite an interesting way of keeping a daily diary through drawings and images.”
Sean describes Hélène in action: “I was carrying out my normal duties on the farm. I had a syringe. She was in the cattle shed, and free hand, she did a sketch of the animals putting their heads out through the feed barrier, where they can eat their silage.
“She added a comic bit though it, with a farmer coming through the air with a syringe in his hand to treat the animals,” said Sean.
During the Summer Hélène forwarded some drawings sketched at Cloncannon Biofarm to her University and about three months later Sean received correspondence saying Hélène had won a top prize for her efforts.
Hélène told Sean she was “really happy for that. I got €350, a few presents and, best of all, the possibility of being edited. I even met a man who is beginning a new web journal about travels and who would like me to participate on the next issue.”
Readers can see more of Hélène's artwork online at www.univ-bpclermont.fr
Cloncannon Biofarm's mission is to “inform and stimulate interest in healthy soil, animals, plants and society.”
The farm works with many groups such as Active Retirement, Macra na Feirme, Women in Farming, Farmer groups, Youth Development/Scouts, Tidy Towns, and school students. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org