Liam O'Neill: Big Turnings
August 14, 2014

(August 14, 2014) – The Bechtel Plaza in front of the Figge Art Museum will become an outdoor woodshop starting Monday when internationally acclaimed Irish wood artist Liam O’Neill sets up shop for the Liam O’Neill: Big Turnings project.
O’Neill will be constructing a temporary woodturning lathe made of cast concrete that he will use to create a large-scale turned wood sculpture. The raw material will be a locally sourced tree trunk provided by the Davenport city arborist.
Over the course of four weeks, the three feet in diameter and six feet long tree trunk, will be transformed into a throne or chair. The piece will be sculpted first using chainsaws followed by finer tools and concluding with sandblasting and torching to achieve the desired finish.
Figge visitors will be able to interact with the artist on an ongoing and informal basis while he is creating the sculpture. O'Neill will work on the plaza August 18-22, September 4-6 and September 9-13 (dates are subject to change). Visitors are invited to view the progress of the sculpture while the concrete cures during the Beaux Arts Fair on September 6-7.
The finished piece will be placed on long-term exhibition in the downtown Davenport RiverCenter Adler Theatre in front of a large window that overlooks the Mississippi River.
Liam O’Neill’s artist residency and the Big Turnings project are funded in part by the Downtown Davenport Partnership, Alcoa, the City of Davenport and the Collectors of Wood Art.
Artist’s Schedule:
Thursday, September 4 – 12 pm-5 pm
Friday, September 5– 10 am-5 pm
Saturday, September 6– 10 am-5 pm
Sunday, September 7– 10 am-5 pm
Monday, September 8– 10 am-5 pm
Tuesday, September 9– 10 am-5 pm
Wednesday, September 10– 10 am-5 pm
Thursday, September 11– 12 pm-5 pm
Friday, September 12– 10 am-5 pm
Saturday, September 13– 10 am-5 pm
Sunday, September 14 – Unveiling! Meet the artist starting at 1:30 p.m. and view the finished wooden throne in the lobby of the museum. Stick around to hear Liam give a presentation about his work and life as an artist from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Cash bar. Free with paid admission or membership.
About Liam O’Neill:
O’Neill is an internationally acclaimed wood artist who has exhibited his work across the United States. He began as an apprentice under John Shiel in Bagenalstown, Ireland, and worked for nearly 11 years setting up and managing the woodturning section of Retos, a rehabilitation facility for adults with disabilities in Shannon, County Clare. O’Neill also was influential in establishing the Irish Woodturners Guild.From 1983 to 1985, O’Neill won First Prize in the Royal Dublin Society’s Craft Competition (Wood Turning Section). In 1984, he was awarded the Dr. Muriel Gahan Scholarship to the U.S.A. to travel and study with leading American wood turners. He built his first large scale outdoor lathe in 1997, and has continued to develop and refine his outdoor works since then.

About the Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5 p.m. Thursdays the museum is open until 9 p.m. Admission to the museum and tour is $7. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and free to all on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit


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