I’m just writing a couple of lines to express how overjoyed and pleasantly surprised I’ve been over the past few days here in Sligo.
There is so much going on between the Só Food Festival, Bike Week and of course Lily Lolly Craftfest. There’s such a great buzz around and there really is something for everyone… you don’t have to look too hard!
I’ve spent most of this week revelling in the creative workshops that St. Angela’s College have sponsored as part of Lily Lolly Craftfest. See all on snapchat (@moda_fix). Tuesday evening saw the launch of the Fashion Graduates’ Exhibition at The Factory Performance Space. This was a stunning display of the 5 graduates’ work. You can read about each of the designers Angela, Saoirse, Jade, Emma and Roseanne in my latest interview here.
Textiles lecturer at St. Angela’s, Emer Maher Dowling opened the show congratulating each of the designers and Muireann Charleton from the Design and Craft Council echoed this with her wonderful speech. On behalf of the 5 graduates Roseanne McNamee thanked the lecturers and invited me to say a few words. I was very nervous and chose not to prepare a speech… to just go with the flow and see what came out! I wanted to keep it short and sweet, but I had also hoped to tell the girls the elements of each of their work that I appreciated – but I think the nerves got the better of me! Despite this, thank you for those who said my speech was impactful and from the heart and that I connected with the graduates.
I loved Roseanne’s iridescent fabrics, which reflect her ‘Transparent Bubbles’ concept, I like how Angela has found her niche catering for the 12-14 year olds so they can express their individualism. I appreciate how Jade’s work is influenced by her surroundings – the woodlands near her home at Hazelwood. Emma is another wonderful designer, now working with Natalie B Coleman and I enjoyed learning about how her graduate collection was inspired by the dragonfly, who’s lifespan is very short. You never know what life is going to throw at you, so enjoy the moment. Saoirse’s collection stood out to me in that she challenges the gender barrier – hers is a gender neutral collection, believing that everyone should have the freedom to wear what they like. I loved learning the stories behind the fabrics she used – some sourced from her mother’s travels and fabric from her grandmother’s clothing factory.
You can read full details about each graduate collection here.
On Wednesday I attended an evening workshop with fashion designer Rebecca Marsden. We learned a variety of simple fabric manipulation techniques and about texture development. These are key features in Rebecca’s own creations. We used simple everyday items like coins, marbles, chopsticks, thread and pleats to add texture.
On Friday I attended 2 workshops at St. Angela’s College. The first was conducted by Emer Maher Dowling. We learned how about shibori and hand dyeing and tried out lots of different techniques. I was actually in my element. We had also learned about shibori from Rebecca’s workshop. It’s a Japanese word, which comes from the verb shiboru meaning to squeeze, twist or press. Shibori is the manipulating of fabric before dyeing.
In the second workshop we learned all about appliqué from Dr. Kathryn McSweeney. This was something completely new for me, but also very enjoyable. I was so happy to get a place on these courses and they were all sponsored by St. Angela’s as part of the Lily Lolly Craftfest. Each of the lecturers and assistant lecturers were so nice and accommodating. They were fabulous to be around and I was just so happy to be there. I can’t believe we have this facility at our doorstep.
They discussed design as a profession, the notion of design and craft being of equal importance, the notion of introducing design into the primary school curriculum, the importance of branding, telling your story and building a tribe. It was really excellence; one not to be missed. A common thread running through their work and what keeps them going is their love of Sligo and its surroundings – be it a beach walk, the sunset or climbing a mountain.
Here’s to many many more festivals on our doorstep!
Thanks for reading,