Wool Project “3 Bags Full” Exhibition Watergate Theater Upstairs Gallery.

This Spring Kilkenny County Councils Arts Office in association with our Community and Enterprise department embarked on a very exciting project which connected creatively with our local community both rural and urban. The culmination of this project can be seen in the exhibition ‘Three Bags Full’ in the Watergate Theatre, Upstairs Gallery from Friday 10th June to 22nd July 2011.

The project was borne out of an invitation from Marie Doyle, from the International Sheep Shearing Championships, to Deirdre Harte, the Arts Offices then artist in residence, to exhibit some work at the Championships in 2011. Deirdre and Mary Butler, Arts Officer, saw this as a fantastic opportunity to extend the knitting project they were then undertaking as part of Deidre’s residency with a group of local women. They devised a project brief and secured funding from the Community and Enterprise department under the Local Authorities current Interreg project.

From the original residency group of knitters Deirdre continued to work with a core group of thirteen women who attended knitting sessions throughout April. In May the group experienced and took part in the shearing of Suzanna Cramptons’ seventeen beautiful Zwartables sheep and two of her white sheep.

This fleece, three bags full, was then taken to Cushendale Mill in Graiguenamanagh where the women also joined in to experience the washing and carding of the wool. From here three artists specialising in felting, Sinead Kane, Sheila Jordon and Marika Miklosi taught the group both wet and dry felting. Finally under the further guidance of Deirdre the group assisted in the construction of the beautiful cushions you will see in this exhibition.

The project has been a holistic creative journey, ensuring social interaction and the learning of new skills along the way for all involved. This project has embraced Kilkenny’s current status as the first Age Friendly County in the South East. It also connected the urban to the rural by way of the shearing and the exhibiting of the work at the International Sheep Shearing Championships this June Bank Holiday weekend at Cillin Hill. All stages of the activity have been filmed and photographed with all involved becoming an integral part of the project.

Essentially the project set out to achieve the following:
• Ensure communities’ well being through lifelong learning activities
• Promote the craft sector and its linkages with economic, cultural, heritage and the artistic landscape of the region
• Facilitate lifelong learning activities
• Create and motivate a new form of participation by using targeted outreach approaches
• Generate participation that engages people in new social networks that will also outlive the funded project
• Broaden and diversify participation and audiences and encourage engagement in creative and cultural activities
• Achieve much valued improvements in quality of life
• To undertake a project facilitating intergenerational activity
• Undertake the project in an ethical / green approach i.e.
• To utilise locally sourced materials and Irish products
• To utilise local people and skills

Helen Synnot, project participant says of the project – ‘Skill, knowledge, learning and graft is what we brought to this new craft. Laughter, joy, coffee and fun is how we got this project done.’

Acknowledgements

Producer:
Mary Butler, Arts Officer, Kilkenny County Council

Directors:
Mary Butler, Arts Officer, Kilkenny County Council
Lindsey Butler, Community Development Officer, Kilkenny
County Council

Lead Artist / Designer:
Deirdre Harte

Artists – Felters:
Sinead Kane, Sheila Jordon and Marika Miklosi

Participants:
Breda Barrett, Leslie Bell, Elizabeth Brennan, Mary Conway,
Sheila Feeney, Sheila Geoghegan, Maura Hickey, Phyllis
Mahfoud, Cathy Power, Margaret Power, Mary Mealy, Brona
O’Brien and Helen Synnot

Filming:
Mycrofilms, Alan Slattery, John Morton and Richie Cody

Photography and Sheep:
Suzanna Crampton

Washing and Carding the fleece:
Cushendale Mill and Philip Cushen

Shearers:
Andrew Forristal
George Graham

Link to the sheep shearing championships:
Marie Doyle

Exhibition Three Bags Full at the Upstairs Gallery, Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny
10th June – 22nd July 2011

Opening hours: Monday–Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 2pm–6pm, Sunday one hour prior to show

For further information on this or subsequent shows, contact the Arts Office on (056) 7794138 niamh.finn@kilkennycoco.ie

This project isfunded by Interreg and Kilkenny County Council.

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