I have ranted before about the lack of publicity given to the amazing exhibitions which form part of the Knit and Stitch show in the RDS each November. The emphasis is mainly on the wools, threads and traditional aspects of the world of textiles. But, if you go to the show and only visit the shops you are missing so much. This year some of the world’s leading textile artists had inspiring, colourful and inventive exhibits in the Galleries.
Check out the work of Jo Beattie whose work is based on ‘Precious Memories’ and is drawn on a sewing machine http://www.jobeattie.com/.
- Or look up Studio 21 and the ‘Sewing Machine Project’ which explores the group’s personal interest in the transformational nature of the sewing machine. They took apart three abandoned sewing machines to reveal their workings: nuts, bolts, drive belts, camshafts and levers. These parts gave the group their initial inspiration and the shapes, lines and textures of the mechanical paraphernalia were explored and developed. http://www.studio21textileartists.co.uk
- Check out Irish group ‘Cork Textile Network’ who showcased a diverse range of works from encaustic to print. This is a vibrant and active group of textile and mixed media artists who network to support each other in their work. http://www.corktextiles.com
Which brings me to the Graduate Showcase which, each year, provides an excellent opportunity to show the work of young graduates who are the future of textiles. Their work is breaking boundaries and challenging traditional notions of stitching and surface embroidery. We didn’t get to meet them all but here are three names to keep in mind for the future:
Kirsten Hodgson https://www.facebook.com/KirstenHodgsonTextileArtist/. Kirsten’s work utilized the nearly forgotten desk top necessity, the Rolodex! Using silk organza and machine stitched text she has created beautiful, evocative works using these donated pieces of equipment from a less technical office life!
Niamh McCarthy https://www.etsy.com/shop/niamhdesigns. Niamh is the 2017 RDS Emerging Maker for Embellished Textiles and creates amazing, embroidered family trees in to order. These are painstakingly executed and will be family heirlooms in years to come.
Lorna Gilmartin (Instagram: lornagilmartin_textiles). Lorna produces beautiful aprons and tea towels printed with her colourful designs. She hopes to have an on-line outlet for her work soon.
We wish these new graduates every success in their future as Irish textile artists and designers.