It is wonderful to be able to embrace life long learning – to have the courage, time, interest and money to wade back into education. This week, and in the following weeks, we highlight the work of members who have just graduated from the college courses they have pursued for the last few years in the National College of Art and Design. It has been a bit of an anti-climax as, this very week, they should be showcasing their final pieces at the NCAD CEAD Annual Exhibition but instead the works of art are packed in boxes under the bed or stuffed in drawers or garden sheds. So we asked them to release their work to the light of day, and let us see the products of their last few months of research and making.
First up is Caroline Fitzgerald who studied two modules in the final year of a Certificate in Visual Art Practice. The modules, Creative Embroidery and Drawing and Sculpture, couldn’t be more different in every way : content, practice and even location within the college.
Creative Embroidery takes place in a calm, well light and airy part of the original building with views down Thomas Street through lovely tall windows. Sculpture on the other hand, takes place in an appropriately rough and ready studio with lumps of plaster adorning the tables and chairs and plenty of scope for physical engagement with creativity and mess!
In her final project for the Creative Embroidery module, Caroline took her inspiration from an old spoon she found at her holiday home by the sea. “It reminded me of a sea shell and, as I find it hard not to come home from a walk on the beach without collecting shells, this seemed to be a theme needing exploration”.
Caroline developed notebook studies and samples looking at the shapes and textures of sea shells and then mimiced these patterns and shapes with stitch on fabric. The background of this final piece is a digital image of a shibori and indigo dyed piece of organic linen. “I used a combination of slow hand stitches using silk thread, and free machine embroidery in metallic threads, to create shapes and texture which are further embellished using gold and copper foil”. The finished piece is 20 x 57 cm
Caroline’s final project for the Drawing and Sculpture module is titled “Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk”.
“The development of the concept of ‘walking’ to heal yourself, using it as a form of self-medication. Going for a walk, one step in front of the other can be both mindful and meditative. The very act of being in nature and the observations we make about our surroundings, the footprints we leave on the ground and the images we take with us to sustain us later when the need arises”
Caroline worked through the ideas for her piece on large scrolls of brown paper and created a virtical ‘rugged path’ as an integral part of the finished installation.
Detail of 2.5 m scroll
Brown paper scroll , ink, acrylic paint, handmade papers and fabric
For the 3D element of the installation Caroline used three bundles of wood (representing life), with fabric dipped in plaster, plaster mould, wax mould (with light detail), distressed and painted handmade paper and found objects from nature all tied up together with copper wire.
Congratulations Caroline on completing the Certificate and well done on the pushing the boundaries of your creativity. We hope some day to see the final pieces assembled in one place.