Venue: Irish Cement Room and Lower Gallery
Sponsor: Crafts Council of Ireland Year of Craft
Song of Amergin
presented by Louth Craftmark Designers Network and Highlanes Gallery
This year the Crafts Council of Ireland and Craft Northern Ireland have designated 2011 as the Year of Craft. The year marks the 40th anniversary of the Crafts Council of Ireland and will be celebrated through a diverse range of dynamic events and programmes to showcase the very best of craft made on the island of Ireland.
SONG OF AMERGIN
The Book of Invasions which contains The Song of Amergin, has long inspired writers, artists and musicians from Louis Le Brocquy to Horseslips.
Amergin Gluingel was a druid, poet and leader of the Milesians, one of the ancient tribes that conquered Ireland around 1500 BC removing the Tuatha De Danann from power. It is said that Amergin sang an invocation calling upon the spirit of Ireland that has come to be known as the Song of Amergin and he was able to part the storm created by the druids of De Danann and bring his ship safely to land. Amergin has a unique connection with Louth as it is reported he was buried under the mound at Millmount, Drogheda.
Claire Conway (Textiles) Garret Mallon (Jewellery) Frances Lambe (Ceramics) John O’Connor (Painting)
Sarah McKenna (Ceramics) Joe Lawler (Architectural Furniture) Elaine Hanarahan (Jewellery) John Maloney (Sculpture)
Fiona Kerbey (Ceramics) Patricia Murphy (Textiles) Breda Marron (Sculpture) Mary Cowan (Ceramics) Mel Bradley (Textiles) Robert Kelly (Printmaking)
Song of Amergin
I am the stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
An extract from the Song of Amergin’Translation by Robert Graves
Mel Bradley is a leading Irish textile designer and artist working with luxury fibres and fabrics to create customised interior and fashion fabrics. Mel has worked with leading Irish Fashion Designers including John Rocha, Louise Kennedy and Richard Lewis, designing exclusive silks fabrics for their collections. She also created stunning fabrics for RTE’s renowned River Dance production. In recent years Mel has started to use combinations of fibres with her silks to create unique art works for private and public commissions. She won the ‘Best New Product’ and the ‘Buyers’ Choice’ awards at the Showcase exhibition in Dublin in 2006.
Breda Marron studied textiles at the National College of Art and Design and graduated with a Degree in woven textiles in 1997. She won the Taylor Art award in 1997 and has exhibited in Ireland, Scotland and England. Breda makes large and small sculptural pieces using willow, feathers, wire and fabric to create unique tactile pieces. There is a flow and rhythm about her work. Breda is inspired by nature, birds and people she meets. Her work aims to capture the spirit of a place or a person.
Robert Kelly is a graduate of Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design and The National College of Art and Design. He works in painting ,photography and printmaking. His main focus is print and he is currently a member of the Black Church Print Studio in Dublin. Robert’s work is process led where positive and negative mark making are explored through hard ground, soap ground and sugar lift techniques using aquatint. Concepts of order and chaos, time and motion along with themes of flow and erosion inform his practice. The work alludes to a liminal space, a space in-between, rather than depicting a representational space.
John O’Connor is a graduate of Dùn Laoghaire School of art and design. John has been a member of Bridge Street Studios, Dundalk since 2003 and is a job sharing art teacher in O' Fiaich College, Dundalk. His paintings are rooted in the town-land of Ummeryroe, Co. Sligo, the birthplace of his mother. Ummeryroe was the title of his first solo show which was exhibited in the Basement Gallery, Dundalk in September 2010 and The Hamilton Gallery, Sligo in February 2011. Memory and loss feature in his work. Lanes, hearthstones, pitchforks, stichcraft and physical lay of the land provide starting points for semi-abstract paintings and prints.
Patricia Murphy attended The National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Further study has included courses at the Royal College of Art in London, the University of Ulster and in Paris.
Patricia work is concerned with the emotional and transformational impact of colour on people and environments. This is conveyed through abstract paintings, installations, rugs and wall hangings. Patricia’s work is inspired by change and movement in the natural world and reflected in geometric forms used in an organic way. Her contemporary abstract work is held in a number of Public and Corporate Collections and has been exhibited internationally, including London, Cologne, New York, Dubai and Paris.
Claire Conway is a textile artist and designer. She has held the position of part-time lecturer in embroidery textiles at NCAD since 2000.Claire’s studio practise encompasses drawing stitch and felt, which form the basis of her textile art and wall-hangings. Her inspiration comes from her immediate countryside environment and Celtic heritage. She believes in the importance of pausing to see the simple positive pleasures of life, relishing the moment as a child might. The rich vibrant colours she favours, tactile nature of her materials combined with embroidery embellishment, make for richly textured striking wall hangings.
Sarah McKenna is a graduate of Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, Scotland. After gaining her degree in Ceramic Design, Sarah returned to Dundalk where she has been developing her unique ceramic forms in Bridge Street Studios since 1999. Her designs are contemporary with a nostalgic quality which bows to stylised botanical patterns of traditional textiles. She uses lyrics and poetry, which link each piece with memories, times or places. Sarah’s work has been presented to many dignitaries including Bill Clinton, President Mary Mc Aleece, Peter Robinson MLA and Martin Mc Guinness MLA. Sarah is the CCoI representative for Louth Craftmark Designers Network and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Craft ambassador of the North East.
Elaine Hanrahan is a graduate of the Dùn Laoghaire School of Art and Design and The National College of Art and Design. From her studio in the Millmount Craft Centre in Drogheda, Elaine has been designing sterling silver and gold jewellery for more than twenty years. She works with the properties of precious metals, contrasting the surface textures and polished finishes to unique effect, creating both contemporary and heritage inspired designs. Elaine's collection includes custom-made pendants, earrings, bracelets and brooches.
Frances Lambe studied Education at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She taught art at second level for several years. In 1996 she became a founder member of Bridge Street Studios in Dundalk in County Louth and began making sculptural ceramics. Diverse interests in geography, botany, marine biology, natural history and astronomy inspire her work. She has recently moved into a new studio at her home in County Louth in Ireland. She exhibits regularly in National and International exhibitions including SOFA Chicago. Her work is included in private and public collections including the National Museum of Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, the Office of Public Works and the National Museum of Northern Ireland.
Joe Lawler began his career in the family business making reproduction furniture. Joe worked in cabinet making businesses in Dublin for many years. He completed a post graduate business course in Dublin Institute of Technology and in 1997 launched his own business, Architectural Furniture, making hand crafted contemporary furniture. Joe’s work is inspired by architectural forms both natural and manmade. Joe’s furniture is commissioned privately and publicly and he was winner of the Drogheda Harbour Art commission in 2005.
Fiona Kerbey studied Ceramics at Limerick School of Art & Design and later completed a Masters at the National College of Art & Design. She worked with the artist John Kindness on 'The Big Fish', Donegal Quay, Belfast, and her work has been collected by Jury's Hotel Group and the OPW. One of her latest design collections, entitled 'The Dressmaker Series', was purchased for sale by the V&A Museum shop in London. She lives in county Meath.
John Moloney lives in Drogheda. He has an Honours Degree in Fine Art Sculpture and has exhibited regularly in curated solo and group shows since 1979. His work is in private and public collections. John's interest as an Artist Sculptor is in the alchemy of material – paint, words, voice, echo, image, wood, stone, iron, sand, salt, tears and sweat - and his practice is to be open to the possibility of material.
Mary Cowan in a Ceramic Artist based at Bridge Street Studios, Dundalk. Mary graduated from the University of Ulster in 2005 with a degree in Fine and Applied Art specialising in Ceramics and Metal. Currently developing a new body of work inspired by found objects, Mary is attracted to both organic and man- made items and is interested in how time and the elements change such objects and leave their mark. She hand builds her pieces using a combination of moulds, slabs coils and sprigs. After bisque firing she then rubs in body stains and may fire one piece a many times to get the depth of colour and finish required.
Garrett Mallon has worked in the jewellery business for 25 years, training in Dublin and London before establishing his studio at the foot of the Cooley Mountains in Omeath. An award winning jewellery designer Garrett Mallon creates contemporary and stylish Irish jewellery using sterling silver, gold and semi-precious stones. In addition to his jewellery collections Garrett has been commissioned to make awards, prizes and pieces by individuals, business, government bodies and dignitaries. Recent commissions have included those from the office of President McAleese and his work and studio was recently featured in the programme Nationwide .