Native Dubliner Helen O'Connell graduated from Trinity College Dublin with first class honours in English literature and Art History in 1996 before surrendering to a fascination with stone sculpture. A determination to learn the ancient craft of stone carving led her to North Leitrim where she trained under Seamus Dunbar, Jackie Mc Kenna and Martha Quinn at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Manorhamilton. Having fallen in love with the bleak beauty of the local landscape she spent several years in Leitrim working from her cottage studio and teaching at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre.
Studies in the art of marble carving were undertaken in the famous Nicoli studios in Cararra, Italy where she immersed herself in the skills and expertise of generations of artisans. Further pursuit of marble then led the sculptor to the marble quarries of Alentejo, Portugal where she works for lengthy spells and selects the stone for her sculptures. Studies into the discipline of the realistic figurative sculptural tradition have been undertaken under Robert Bodem at the Florence Academy of Art and at the Irish Academy of Figurative Art in Dublin. The artist currently works from D15 studios in Dublin and her studio at home in Wicklow.