Tread Softly

Yesterday I was in Cork city for the day and took the opportunity to go to the Crafts Council of Ireland textiles exhibition in the Cork Public Museum. This exhibition has been touring the country since January and has been in Cork since the 4th March.

Before I went up stairs to the show I had a look around the museums permanent exhibition. The exhibition goes through the history of the city and country through different displays and artifacts. They have a great display of Cork silver with lots of pieces of Republican silver. Republican Silver is silver which was produced in 1922 by William Egan and Sons which does not have a full Irish hallmark. During the Civil War there were three months in which all road and rail links to Cork were cut off so Egans were unable to send their work to Dublin for hallmarking. The owner Barry Egan had the work stamped with a punch which had the symbol of a ship and two towers (the Cork Coat of Arms). Once the city reopened the punches were destroyed and only sixty to eighty pieces of Republican silver exist, for this reason it is much sought after by collectors. I’ll write a post about Republican silver some other time, now back to the Cork Museum!
Anyway after seeing Daniel O’ Connell’s coat and Micheal Collins gun and lots of other interesting things I went up stairs to the textiles exhibition.
The exhibition shows the work of seventeen textile artists who have taken their inspiration from the W.B. Yeats poem ‘Cloths of Heaven’. Here’s the poem for any of you who don’t remember it from school.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

The work was selected by Ann Mulrooney (Curator of the National Craft Gallery) and Angela O’ Kelly (Designer, Jeweller and Curator). The great thing about exhibitions with a theme like this is you can explore each artists interpretation of the poem. Each artist has picked up on something different and interpreted it through a range of media and techniques.There was everything from traditional hand stitched patchwork, to pieces incorporating metal and print.

I had planned to take lots of photos of the exhibition to discuss the work but my camera died without warning. What I couldn’t photograph was Helen O’ Shea’s beautiful works ‘Guide Rope’ and ‘Diving’ which were amazingly intricate. I also missed out on showing you Pascale de Coninck’s ‘ This Little Light of Mine’ with it’s dense and rich colours and catchy title that had me singing the song all the way home! So here’s a few photos I managed to take which should entice you to go along to the’s in Cork until the 30th April.

'Enwrought with Love 1' Lesley Stothers
'Enwrought with Love 1' Lesley Stothers



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