I am delighted to see the recent launch of The Design Basket, a one stop online shop to buy the best of Irish design. Ireland is full of wonderful designers and craft makers busy working away in their studios but they are not always easy to find, at last there is a web-site to showcase their work in one place. If you have not started/finished your Christmas shopping then this is the perfect place to get some beautiful gifts. Below are some items from the site that are on my Wish List.
What better way to spend a wet Sunday than making Christmas Tree decorations. This year I am buying a FAKE tree, The time has come to stop cutting down growing trees and I'm tired sweeping up pine needles. I want the tree to look artificial, I do not like imitations trying to look like the real thing. So after much consideration and a great deal of effort on my daughters part, below is the tree that I hope will arrive in time for Christmas.
I know it does not look much in this photo but when it is decorated with curated (my daughters word) ornaments it will be wonderful..I hope!
Some people prepare for Christmas by cooking up a storm, plum puddings, Christmas cakes and mince pies, but I don't bake so instead preparing for Christmas here means cutting up some old sweaters and making decorations, these are a few I made on Sunday. Unfortunately my sewing machine was not working properly so on Monday I left it in to be serviced. You will see the bad stitching in the photos (I am blaming the machine).
This one I have to hand finish sewing the opening (spot the pin)
The other side looks like this
The green spotted fabric on the legs was once a favorite T-Shirt.
This was another much loved jumper.I left the buttons on it.
And here is more of that jumper.
This one is already on display in my Bell Jar.
The Bell Jar changes according to the seasons, so maybe I should add some fluffy snow.
Getting back to my sewing machine when I left it in to the repair shop the first question I was asked was "How old is it?"
Only then did I realize that it is Thirty nine years old. I know you must be thinking I must have had it as a toddler, but no! I bought it the first year I was in The Grafton Academy studying Dress Designeing, it has served me well. I could buy a new one for less than the cost of the repair, but it is a work horse, made of metal, unlike the light weight plastic machines on the market now. At the time it was so high-spec. with zig-zag and a button hole setting as well as a couple of embroidery settings. It has served me well, how could I part with it for a newer model. When I collect it in PERFECT working order, hopefully I will post a photo of it for you all to admire.
This weeks topic is Silence, which is a coincidence as I am currently reading "A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland. I am fortunate to live in a quiet place and Silence is part of the landscape. This abandoned house is just up the road from me and I pass it on my daily walk. It is a now Silent Homestead,
As a visual artist I think the worst thing that could happen would be to loose either my sight or the use of my hands. The radio show Liveline (an institution here) recently featured the story of Alexandra Trotsenko, a Russian artist living in Dublin. During a break-in at her apartment she was violently assaulted, she suffered horrific injuries including the amputation of some of her fingers. Two years on she told of her ordeal on the radio show, I don't think anybody listening, especially artists were not moved by her story and her tremendous bravery. She can no longer work as an artist. So an Art Auction has been organised at Adams Blackrock. to help raise funds to support her. The works donated to the Auction should be available to view shortly on line.
Before the attack Alexandra illustrated children's books, below is an example of her beautiful delicate, detailed work.
I have donated Nearing Recess, an oil and ink on linen.
I hope two wealthy buyers love it and bid each other up to a decent price to acquire it!
I love old books and I use them quiet a bit in my Collages. I am lucky that there is a fantastic second hand book store in Galway Charlie Byrnes. I see on their web site they sell books to use as furniture, I've noticed this recently, The Mornington Hotel in Stockholm did this very effectively. I have also seen window displays with thousands of books used as props.
I especially like the illustrations in old books, Here are some photos from a book I have, even the sticker on the inside page is a thing of beauty.
It was a Sunday school prize presented for best attendance to Sally McBurney in 1924
Maeve Clancy is currently showing at The The Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. She makes Pop-up books and paper cut outs. As part of her exhibition she held a morning work shop making pop-ups. I attended it and found it most enjoyable. Below is the piece I made.
This would be so much better with music, but my computer skills are limited!I also wanted to add bunting hanging from the tree branches but I have not got around to doing that yet.
I'm home from Belfast. The opening was wonderful. The Ulster Museum is a stunning venue. It has been recently refurbished and it is now a 7 story modern Gallery set within an old classical building in the heart of the University Quarter at Queens.
The art fraternity of Northern Ireland came out in style . I had never been to such a well attended Opening. Tim Cooke the director of National Museums Northern Ireland welcomed the guests and then the prizes were announced before we were allowed into see the exhibition.
There were many distinguished guests and Academicians, I would know the work of many of the artists I would not be able to put a face to them! but I did recognize the singer Brian Kennedy.
This is me beside my work looking very happy to be in such distinguished company.
Nothing lifts my heart more than receiving a letter such as the one that arrived recently from the R.U.A.that began
"Dear Eithna On behalf of the Royal Ulster Academy, I would like to thank you for entering your work for selection in our forthcoming Annual Exhibition at the Ulster Museum and am delighted to inform you that both of your pieces have been selected"
After a few "rejection" letters in the past I was delighted to be selected from 1010 submissions and to be part of the 167 artists taking part in this their 130th exhibition. It opens tomorrow evening October 20th and will run until November 20th. I am going to Belfast for the opening so I hope to have some photographs of the event to share with you in a few days.
The two paintings that I am showing are shown below
Galway Hospital Arts Trust hosted my exhibition A Whispering Landscape in June, they are planning a fund raiser on October 21st. so they may continue their good work. As well musical entertainment there will be an art auction on the night. I was happy to see the painting I donated "Ladies House" made the poster (second from the left).
Winter is quickly approaching. Downton Abbey and the X Factor are back on television so that means it is time to hibernate in front of the fire and waste our evenings watching T.V. Growth in the garden is slowing down so it is time for me to return to my studio and get a routine of art making back into my day.
My paintings seem to be getting more abstract with less and less colour as you can see from the first picture which I finished last week. Then I decided to be more colorful and fun as you can see from the 2nd image, but it is a work in progress so it may well end up completely different, I like to work on several pieces at the one time as it takes oil so long to dry I always have something on the go.
I love to see where artists work,
Someday I will post images of my studio (after I tidy it!)
meanwhile here is a little glimpse..
Boundaries is the subject in this weeks Illustration Friday. We create our own Boundaries, a box we feel comfortable in and it is hard to leave the comfort zone. But when we push the boundaries it is so rewarding. I used a box that I opened out on this mixed media piece. It looks like the boundary lines on a map and the figure I placed inside and outside this template. The script signifies our intellect and the branches our natural instincts. There are no boundaries if we dare to be open minded.
September is Claremorris Open Exhibition time again. This years curator is Chris Hammond of MOT International and Goldsmith's College, London.. The exhibition is more contained than previous years which I think is an improvement even if it means a smaller selection of artists, which is regrettable, I submitted and was short listed, I wonder if there were more venues would I have made the cut? Well there is always next year.
Antonio Julio Lopez Castro Intruders
Sunday Times Style and Culture Magazines,
Marie Padden, Vacancy.
Doireann Ni Ghrioghair See-Saw
There is an excellent variety of art making on show with drawing having a strong presence this year which was good to see. Laura FitzGerald drawings were my favourite.
Get along to see it if you can, it will be on until September 24th. Closed Mondays.
This mixed media piece titled The wood from the trees isa small work on paper, I exhibited it at a group show last year and when it came time to return the piece it was missing. I don't know if it is languishing in a box somewhere when it got muddled up by the organizers or if some light fingered admirer just wanted it! If any of you have seen it please send it home.
Only two days left to leave a comment to be in with a chance to win my Free Givaway, The response so far has been poor. So Thoughtful Girl under a Tree is wondering why nobody wants the canvas bag other than her Mom?
My painting "Natures Embroidery" it is full of summers blossom.
I don't often paint flowers but when I do they are more from my imagination than from the garden.
Below is a plant that was in my garden last year but unfortunately it died after the severe winter we had.
and this is a picture I took in the Burren Co. Clare recently.