Wandering Methods – Explorations by Slow Craft is a project developed by Bealtaine Festival and Craftspace (UK) in association with the Office of Public Works.
Two professional craft artists, Linda Florence and Maeve Clancy, have been working with a small group of older people who live in the Rathfarnham area over the past month. They have spent time looking at the building and its contents, and learning about its history – from this they have been working with the artists (one who primarily works with print, and the other who primarily works with paper cutting and drawing) to create material that draws from their observations of and connections with the Castle.
During the Wandering Methods project, participants have learned learn craft skills from the two artists, as well as delving into the history of the Castle building and their own associations and histories of the Rathfarnham area. All are participants in a process which makes time to connect, build relationships, share knowledge and lived experience and engage in convivial activity. The Castle is a rich site to mine for memory, narrative and story. Interpreting these into imaginative, innovative contemporary visual art/craft pieces and presenting it for wider public participation and engagement is key – how can a shared creative process animate a historic building exploring the layering of time, history and heritage.
Participants have been meeting in the Castle, spending time observing the building’s details. They’ve heard about its chequered history, from fortified house defending the Pale, through lavish refurbishment in the 1700s, to its time as a Jesuit seminary for much of the 20th century, when it also became a national centre for earthquake information thanks to a seismograph built by one of the resident priests. Thanks to the Office of Public Work’s extensive refurbishment the building was saved from ruin in the 1980s when there were fears that it was to be demolished, and the extensive knowledge of the building’s history that the OPW staff has amassed will be a key part of the gathering of stories for the project.
A key theme or line of enquiry is time, and ideas of ‘slow’ in relation to the slow movement (slow food, slow travel etc.) and its ethos, philosophy and values. In a world in which ways of living and being have become increasingly reductive, the process of thinking and reflecting collectively through making can enable a re-assertion of more sustainable lifestyles and re-thinking models of prosperity and well-being. Craft has a currency beyond commodity with a resurgence in making and crafting for pleasure, to acquire new skills and also as a connective social process. Through the processes enacted is this project we aim to evidence the building of relationships, knowledge, creative and social capacity. Engaging with ideas of locality, relationship to place, the borrowing of design over time and layering of time are also key areas of exploration.
An exhibition of the work created by the participants in the Wandering Methods project will be exhibited in Rathfarnham Castle as part of Bealtaine Festival. The public will be invited to see the Castle anew through the eyes of the participants, opening a personal space for their own imaginings of the building’s history and stories.
Bealtaine Festival is an Age & Opportunity initiative.
Wandering Methods exhibition will run from Wed 23rd May in Rathfarnham Castle and is free to the public. The opening hours of the Castle are Tuesday to Friday from 10.30am to 4pm and Saturday & Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm.
Please note: parts of the Castle are not suitable for people with limited mobility. For further information contact the Castle on (01) 493 9462.
Linda produces bespoke hand printed wallpaper and installation artwork for public, commercial and domestic interiors. Florence’s printing techniques incorporate a mixture of traditional and new technologies. Clients include the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Jerwood Space, Swarovski, The National Trust, Ted Baker and Penguin. Florence has won multiple design awards including a British Design Award and is currently visiting professor Weißensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin and senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins, London.
Linda was part a similar project in 2009 for Craftspace, where she worked a group of local Afro-Caribbean elders at the National Trust property, Wightwick Manor, to develop a collection of contemporary wallpapers and prints inspired by the property’s extensive collection of Arts and Craft design.
Maeve Clancy is a Dublin-based artist and writer. She produces comics, illustration and animation in cut paper, ink and pop-up. She writes and draws a weekly webcomic Flatmates and is currently working on Inheritance, a graphic novel set in Dublin and Berlin.
She has created paper artwork for music video, exhibitions and once-off installations. Recent commissions include Paper Tales, a visual art exhibition designed for children which included large scale cut paper work, animation, pop up and comics at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Ireland during October 2011. At the Solihull Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK her 2010 solo exhibition, An Outsider in your Mother(s)land explored immigration and identity through paper cityscapes of Dublin and Birmingham.
Craftspace is a crafts development organisation based in Birmingham. We work to push boundaries and perceptions of crafts practice, presentation and learning. They build relationships between artists, people and organisations, and their ideas explore crafts in diverse social and cultural settings.
For further information see: http://bealtaine.com/bealtaine-2012/wandering-methods-may-23rd