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Image / Editorial

Woven Tales


By Jeanne Sutton
25th Mar 2014
Woven Tales

Fragile Strength by Patty Murphy examines the labour, material and fellowship of the small lace industry of Youghal, Co Cork in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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The National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny is home to the upcoming exhibition?Interlace, which focuses on contemporary interpretations of?lace and features eight female artists. Ireland has a rich and historic relationship with the craft of lacemaking – you could even say we’re the experts. After all, the Duchess of Cambridge married in a dress that used lace made by the famed Carrickmacross Lace Company in Co. Monaghan. That’s a stamp of approval if ever there was one.

In the catalogue for the?Interlace?exhibition Gemma Tipton writes “More than a luxury,?lace?was once central to Irish life, and even to survival. These makers look at?lace’s almost magical properties.”?From an exploration of labour conditions in the early nineteenth century to the city of Venice, the National Craft Gallery promises to be transformed into a repository for delicate beauty and innovative craftsmanship.

Caroline Schofield‘draws on mythology surrounding the god Odin and his ravens Huginn meaning ?thought? and Muninn meaning ‘memory?. Her work comprises of thread stitched raven drawings that will be mounted on the walls throughout the National Craft Gallery.?Helen McAllister‘draws on her love of Venice and that city’s lace industry. Leading Irish designerNatalie B Coleman?is using her own wedding dress for the exhibition, which was intriguingly?inspired by priests? garments for whom Irish?lace’makers originally made lace. Natalie says ?There is an austerity and emotion related to?lace?that is ingrained in me. It reveals memories of my Mother and being taught Carrickmacross?Lace?by the nuns in the convent where I went to secondary school. It makes me think of my Holy Communion, of my wedding, of funerals, of tablecloths. It is part of everyday life but also brings that sense of ceremony.??Her dress fuses the traditional with the ultra modern – the sleeves are finished in wire-edged 3D Carrickmacross?Lace?butterflies.?Patty Murphy‘s ceramics hark back to afternoon tea gowns from the Youghal?Lace-making Co-operative which date from the turn of the last century.?R?is?n de Buitl?ar?works with glass to pay homage to the young women, girls really, who would work tweleve hour days in the 1830s to make lace pieces.?Anita Elliot,?Cathryn Hogg?and?Saidhbh?n Gibson?also feature in what promises to be a beautiful show.

Opens on Friday March 28th. Runs until 7th May, 2014 For more details see?here.

Jeanne Sutton?@jeannedesutun