The Olivier Cornet Gallery is delighted to present this group exhibition featuring work by Olivier Cornet Gallery artist Annika Berglund and invited artists Ramona Farrelly, Fiona Harrington, Fiona Leech and Leiko Uchiyama.
This exhibition is part of ‘August Craft Month’ and showcases contemporary art in lace and felt. Please note that Annika Berglund’s triptych The Circles We Walk, presented in this show, is also part of ‘National Heritage Week 2022’.
Annika Berglund is represented by the Olivier Cornet Gallery.
Within the last year and a half, Covid has changed many aspects of our lives. Most of us retreated into the safety of the domestic space except for those whose essential occupations meant they had to risk venturing out in society.The world seemed to shrink to fit inside square walls. It consisted of the circles we walked inside these walls and the bubbles we embraced.
The connections to the world outside the squares and circles felt both much more tenuous and infinitely more important as the barriers to physical encounters grew. Life had to continue inside these confines. In our minds and in the virtual world we reached out to connect with a whole new urgency. Creativity and making became more complicated, impossible for some art forms, but bringing forth innovation and change in many instances.
“This new reality led me to focus my practice on the immediate and the simple; the square I felt confined, but also protected me, the circle – the nurturing bubble, but also the sinister round spiky shape of the Coronavirus. Before the pandemic I had already been looking at a shift in materials from clay, glass and bronze to less energy hungry ways of expression. Textiles and fibre arts worked well in that context and proved to work much better in my new, more confined creative space.
My work has always been informed by the character of different materials and in a dialog with their specific possibilities and constraints. Working with felt and mulberry paper turned out to be well suited for making in the domestic setting, but also appealed to me due to the symbology of how these materials come together. In creating this new series, fluffy wisps of wool and soft sheets of Mulberry paper are put together loosely, wetted down with soapy water and agitated to create a very strong fabric of interlocked fibres. The mulberry and wool fibres, through soap, water, rubbing and being knocked around, create connections that hold them together so tightly they can no longer be pulled apart and they become a unified whole. Cohesion through adversity if you will…”
Ramona Farrelly is an artist based in Co Wicklow, Ireland. She has just completed a part-time two year Level 8 Special Purpose Award: Art Textile at The Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork. Ramona also graduated a four year BA Hons degree in Photography in 2008. Her work in photography, painting and textiles tries to explore the mystical and the ineffable qualities of being, both in a spiritual but also a worldly way through her visual use of materials. She is a member of Feltmakers Ireland.
Fiona Harrington is a visual artist who uses handmade lace as her primary medium. She studied Fine Art at Crawford College of Art, Textile Design at NCAD and completed an MA in Art and Research Collaboration at IADT.
She has been the recipient of the Thomas Damann Bursary, RDS Graduate Prize, National Craft Award, Eleanor De La Branchardiere Prize, Traditional Lacemakers Award and a Percent for Art Commission.
Her work has been exhibited widely, both at home and abroad and was featured in ‘Lace, Paint, Hair’, a 3-person show, curated by Sinéad Kathy Rice at the National Gallery of Ireland. She has travelled extensively giving talks and demonstrations on Irish Lace and her academic work has been selected for publication for the Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of World Textiles.
In 2021, she represented Ireland at Doily Free Zone, an international symposium exploring contemporary lacemaking in art and design.
Most recently she was awarded the reimagined RDS Branchardiere Bursary and was selected to the Michel Angelo Foundation’s Homo Faber Guide, which celebrates European excellence in craftsmanship. She is currently one of only 4 lacemakers in Europe to be featured in this guide.
Fiona’s work explores themes relating to cultural identity, the domestic space, memory, female labour and what is often referred to as ‘women’s work’. She is interested in how we interact with everyday objects, what is discarded and what is treasured. By creating highly intricate and labour-intensive pieces, the artist is encouraging us to take time to reflect on our past, question how we process memory and reconsider our relationship towards the familiar and the accepted.
“I’m a Dublin based artist, who has been passionate about design for as long as I can remember with a particular interest in textiles.
I studied theatre set and costume design in the late 80’s in what is now TUD and emerged into a post recession, vibrant Dublin theatre scene. I worked as a freelance set and costume designer, 3D and theatre design lecturer with a little scenic art also for about 15 years.
After having my 3 children and being home a lot more I turned back to my biggest passion. I gathered some wools and threads and began experimenting. I discovered my love for felting combined with slow stitching which had the best of both worlds. Hard physical work creating the felt with gentle mediative hand stitching. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve been confident to start showing my work. I am a member of Feltmakers Ireland.”
“I am a felt making artist nestled in the picturesque Blackstairs Mountains of County Carlow, Ireland. My journey here has taken me from my Japanese home as an agricultural and textile design graduate, to New Zealand, where I worked on a sheep farm, to Indonesia where my felt making techniques developed and France, where I relished my aesthetically and culturally rich surroundings.
The experience I have gathered through my making, all the sheep breeds and the many types of wool I have worked with, have helped me to refine my skills. I create wearable pieces with wool and silks which I dye using my own colour recipes. I also enjoy making functional pieces for the home such as tableware, stool tops, wall pieces or rugs. Felt is such a wonderfully versatile material. I teach felting workshops throughout Europe, America, Australia and Japan and I have exhibited in different countries, it is wonderful how felting has taken me so far and yet I am still learning with every new encounter, every new commission. I believe the origin of craft lies in creating something for someone special, not only to serve a function, but to make our lives more colourful and rich.”
Leiko is a member of Feltmakers Ireland.