• Title: When I was a deer
  • Reference Code: IE/NIVAL AB/38
  • Level of Description: Item
  • Creation Dates: 2002
  • Extent And Medium: 23 cm x 17 cm x 3 cm.
  • Genre: original
  • Creators:
  • Repository: NIVAL

Scope and Content

Handmade book encased in an oak wood box with screenprinted cover. The book itself is bound with twigs and string. It features digital prints of images and text on arakji paper. The images feature nature, the seasons and deer.
Edition: No. 1 of 3

Language / Script



'When I was a Deer' is one part of a three-piece narrative celebrating the native deciduous woodlands of Ireland.  The two additional parts (not in the collection at NIVAL), have been made in other formats: a scroll made of Dan Xuan papier de riz, and a sculptural book made of ash.

The book in NIVAL has been digitally produced on paper and encased in a flat oak wood box.  According to Byrne, the materials have been selected to convey the following:  'the box suggests a treasure, something precious that needs protecting - our native trees.  The paper, soft, brittle and with a level of transparency that hints at changes to come as the pages are turned.'  

Taken as a whole, 'When I was a Deer' evokes 'the symbolism of trees, suggesting a history of human involvement with the landscape that seems enigmatic in today's world, where concrete jungles have replaced the great forests.'