Corina Duyn

‘It is our privilege to be able to support this incredible, curious, thoughtful, direct, pragmatic and good humoured artist to continue her creative life, which is essential to her wellbeing.’

Maeve Butler, Assistant Director Waterford Healing Arts


The previous tagline was: Artist, Writer, Puppet Designer; The Now: Artist in Care. This is my story

Looking back over my (creative) life I realise that my love and need to use my creative mind can be traced back to my early childhood in the Netherlands. In terms of making, the lack of funds for materials or a formal arts education led to freedom of expression as well as not having any constraints in the ‘proper’ use of materials or work methods. I realise that this is evident in my sculptures and puppetry. The love of words also came early. My most cherished places being private or public libraries. 

Although trained and working as a care-nurse and social care worker, I became a full time artist after my move to Ireland in 1989. Fantasy Folk Artist Dolls became collectors items and led to private and corporate commissions in Ireland and around the globe.


The sudden start and rapid decline in health due to the debilitating neurological illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) * at the age of 36 (1998) changed my creative ability, intensity and output. My previous work a reflection on Irish folklore quickly changed to exploring the internal landscape of illness.  This resulted in a visual and written diary of life with illness out of necessity to find a way forward within my utterly changed life. See Writing, Art, Puppetry.


As health continued to deteriorate and care at home was not sufficient to remain living independently I made the incredibly difficult decision to move into full time nursing home care. In late April 2021 I moved into what I call my Tree House age 59. I needed to do this to keep hold on the narrative of my life.

A wish/need to find creative expression I put out a call for support and am immensely grateful for Waterford Healing Arts (WHA) recognising my need to explore this new chapter in my life. It came in the way of support from Artist Caroline Schofield.

Working with Caroline in the Treehouse was for both of us a big learning experience: to understand our different arts practices as well as finding ways to work together. While I slowly accepted to ‘use of her hands’ to create my ideas we brought many into being. Our connection often changed the direction of the works, as well as fine tuning them. 

My main creative objective was to use whatever materials I had available in my little room. From covers of notebooks, a small sweet tin, buttons, scraps of fabric, to boxes of any kind as well as previously made works, but telling the new story. ‘Use everything – use everything wisely – everything has significance.’ (Ben Okri, Dangerous Love).  Just like I did as a child. 

Our beautiful collaborative story moved beyond the confined of my little room. With the support of Creative Waterford our exhibition I brought the dream of flying showed at GOMA in Waterford in January/February 2023 and later at Creative Brain Week in Dublin. 


‘The team at Creative Waterford are honoured to support Corina’s wonderful work which gives us insight into the necessity of creative expression and her feelings about moving into a care setting.’

Katherine Collins, Creative Waterford


In bed I cut words…

For about a year I tore/cut and collected words and images from weekend newspapers. While lying or sitting up in bed I collated these, as well as images of the shadow puppetry era, into collages. The spontaneously created ‘illustrated poems’ were an intuitive response to my thoughts on life in care. What is Home. 

This activity like all my other art also became extinct due to the deterioration in my hands and brain. However. A year after making the last collage many are now being compiled for a limited edition (free) book. Designed by Red Heaven Designs in Lismore. My home town. Throughout the book there will be written contributions by some extraordinary people. More about this when the book is being released but here a few snippets of contributions:


‘Corina’s book of collages is poignant and joyful. It inspires dialogue, within a context of hopefulness that can help shape compassionate and respectful care systems.’

Karrie Marshall. Author, speaker, director for compassionate care programs and socially engaged arts


‘In Bed I Cut Words’ is a powerful call for social inclusion; art that actively resists the reductiveness of ableism through dignity of purpose. A hostage of hope, Corina constantly reinvents her art. Against all the odds she still reigns in her sanctuary. She is brave. She is resilient. She is heard.’

Moira Dillon. Advocate, Patient Rep and Cofounder with ME Advocates Ireland (MEAI)


Thank You

I am so immensely privileged to have received and continue to receive support to create. From people I know to the many people in cyberspace as well as Arts, Health, Puppetry, and Disability organisations. The various arts grants and purchases of my work over the years enabled me to create work to share my experiences. 

Thank you for joining me on my journey through life and I hope you’ll enjoy exploring my website and blog.

Be Well 

Corina – Artist in care 

July 2024

Read or view my creative journey in more detail


Contact Corina Duyn 

* NOTE. To learn more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) please visit ME Advocates Ireland Blog