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Textile and Poetry in Dialogue

For the past year and a half, we have been quietly working on a really interesting project.  You may have seen images of some pieces of work in progress on our Instagram account.  

In January 2023, we were introduced to the very distinctive voice of Irish poet, Jane Clarke, and began a dialogue between her poetry and our contemporary textile art practice.

We were drawn to the imagery of her poems which explore how people, landscape and culture shape us.  During these past months we have lived with the emotions and memories that the poems evoke. Jane’s poetry is rooted in rural life, but she is not afraid to tackle contemporary issues, expose intense personal emotions of family, relationships, love and loss.

Works on paper, Sally Hewetson

The journey with Jane’s poetry has led us to delve into our own life experiences, our sorrows and joys and has prompted the creation of nearly 50 pieces of artwork. As a project it has allowed us take a contemplative, slow approach to responding to the poetry. We had time to experiment, to try out different materials and techniques to find the best way to express our visual response to the written word.

Rust dying and stitch on organza by Kathrina Hughes

Rust dye, stitch on cotton organdie, Kathrina Hughes

During conversations with Jane, we discovered a lot of commonalities in our process of creating – time spent thinking and living with ideas before they form words on paper or images on textile. Textile has long been a vehicle for storytelling. Personal stories of lived experience and moments of everyday life patched and stitched together. Contemporary textiles continue the lineage but move to more abstract forms of expression.

We will show this body of work, alongside the poems that inspired it, in a major exhibition opening at the beginning of October. More details next month. We hope you can join us then to see the culmination of our journey with the wonderful poetry of Jane Clarke.

We are very grateful for the support we have received from the Office of Public Works, Kildare Arts Service @arts_in_co_kildare, Jane Clarke (www.janeclarkepoetry.ie) and Jane’s publisher, Bloodaxe Books @bloodaxebooks.

Website:    www.element15.ie
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/element15textile/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/element15textile/ Email:        element15textile@gmail.com

One comment

  1. Paula Galvin says:

    Marrying these two artistic endeavours is so wonderful and such a great initiative. Well done to all concerned. I am definitely going to go and see this exhibition

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