One of the projects I had in the pipeline for this coming winter, has just been given the green light, and I'm absolutely delighted! I've just got word I will be receiving a bursary from the Arts Council, via Create, the National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, to work on an Artist in the Community research project with the Kenmare Lace Festival.
I've been talking with the Kenmare Lace Festival about possibly doing an art project for their festival next year. Lacemaking, in Ireland, is still restricted to the domain of decorative arts, but through my recent trips to lace centres in Italy and Spain, meeting many young and old lacemakers, I have come to see it as so much more. My aim, inspired by lacemaking techniques and the lacemakers themselves, is to research a project that will radically widen the definition of lace in Ireland. To combine knowledge and tradition with art and technology in the form of a visual installation, a bold reinterpretation of the characteristics traditionally associated with lace.
As most of you are aware, I have become obsessed with lace over the past few years, in the history and heritage of lace, its journey from poverty stricken makers to wealthy owners in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and its current status as a dying artform. (See, artform, not just decorative arts!). For this research project, I will be running a series of exploratory workshops with the lacemakers over the winter, exploring the symbolism and associations of lace. Not just the physical making of lace, which I find fascinating and beautiful, but with the history and heritage associated with lace and its makers.
I will be working towards creating a visual installation, that will also reflect the humour and camaraderie I have come to recognise within the Lacemaking community of Ireland. Theses are wonderful people, so full of life and learning, who openly share their skills, and thus, are preserving an artform, that we cannot afford to lose.
Very exciting times ahead!