Daily Archives: August 15, 2012

Creative Fingers

While in Lisburn last week Davy and I happened on Linen Diaspora, an exhibition of contemporary work explaining how Lisburn became central in textile development and the linen industry. We found it taking place at R-Space Gallery in Lisburn, right through the month of August.

Mapping Memory ~ Liz Nilsson,Dublin

The work is a combination of screen Printing, laser cutting and textile manipulation, using recycled table linen, interlining and Perspex fittings.

August is Craft Month in Northern Ireland with close to 90 events (exhibitions, workshops, talks, seminars etc.) happening across the Province. This year Craft Month promotes contemporary craft and the material arts in Northern Ireland and from around the UK and Ireland. This year the focus is on the work, inspiration & stories of craft makers living and working in Northern Ireland.

D’Irlande à Griffintown Those who crossed the Ocean
Carole Frève, Montréal

Vessel shapes built of Linen and Glass to tell a story. The materials used to achieve the work were blown glass, electroplated copper, linen embroidered & sewn by hand, image transfer and screen printing.

Professor Karen Fleming (University of Ulster), who curated “Linen Diaspora”, established links between the Huguenots exiled from France and flax culture in both Western Canada and Ireland.

Les chemins de mémoire
Janine Parent. Quebec

A curtain consisting of stoneware, linen and cotton. It was achieved by Raku firing. There was also a cushion of which I don’t seen to have a picture.

This exhibition is of contemporary work which focuses on materials and processes related to flax production that are embedded in the culture of both countries. The show was first shown at 4th Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf, Quebec Canada in 2011.

Womanagh – two pieces
Martha Cashman, Cork

On the wall (above) using paper porcelain textured with embroidered linen, fired several times to achieve the colourful lustre glazes and woven wire before driftwood handles were attached.

Set on the hearth (below) Raku fired ceramics and drift wood.

The Huguenots fled to Ireland from their native France in the 17th century to escape religious persecution. They brought with them their expert knowledge of weaving, which had a huge impact on the linen making industry. Thousands more made it across the Atlantic to North America and a similar surge in linen making took place in the province of Quebec.

Dark Rebus (above) & Lingua (below
Susan Warner Keene,Toronto

Flax, cotton, dyes, pigments, linen thread and acrylic were used for felting, stitching and handpaper making to produce these very effective pieces.


Professor Fleming said:

“In Ireland, Lisburn was a centre for that development. The Huguenots had far sighted strategies and it led to a huge exponential increase in weaving in Ireland. They also went to Quebec where they have a very similar linen culture,”

The links between the two areas strengthened in the 19th century when the famine boats began arriving in Quebec and other parts of Canada.

“The Famine is a huge phenomenon in Canada. It is now quite a badge of honour if your family adopted an orphaned child off the famine ships that came from Ireland,”

There were so many wonderful works on display, but I cut my selection down to six. The final work that I have chosen to share with you is untitled, my favourite of the exhibition, and it comes in three pieces.  Derek Wilson & Jill Phillips, Belfast are the creators. The work includes Porcelain, linen fabric, wood and mirrors.  The linen is embroidered and laser cut.

I love the cut work and embroidery of the fabrics.

The shapes on the table below the bowl drew me into this one.

My favourite piece of the show

a closer look