THE Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith, west London is exhibiting a stunning collection of crafts inspired by the Irish landscape from 10 Hands Crafts Ireland until June 8th.
10 Hands Crafts are a group of master craftspeople mainly based in West Cork who exhibit together internationally to show a variety of materials and crafts all inspired by the history, culture and landscape of Ireland.
The travelling exhibition is curated by Angela Brady OBE, who is also a glass artist participating in the show.
Angela says: "We use 10 different materials and 10 different skills and often collaborate on artworks to learn new skills. There is a special energy in the rugged West Cork landscape, which inspires creative minds working in a place that seems magical.
"Since the early 1960’s West Cork has become home to a large number of craft artists and designers from UK and Europe who share a fascination with the landscape and the unique quality of light.
"During the 1960’s and 1970’s it was the creative community itself which attracted people who were looking to join a fully-fledged Bohemian artist’s colony and an alternative lifestyle that continues today. Our group are part of a larger network who exhibit during August Cork Craft Month annually."
The 10 Hands Crafts exhibition was first invited to exhibit in Hangzhou at China Craft Week in November 2018 - which was a huge opportunity to showcase Irish design and craft on an international stage. Ireland was selected as the key focus country and launched the show.
In May, the collection was invited to take part in London Craft Week, and the exhibition continues until June 8th at the Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith - who welcomed the show with open arms as a venue partner also sponsored by Galliard Homes and Cork County Council.
There is a video which accompanies the show showing ‘How things are made’ on the website 10handscrafts.com.
Angela adds: "Craft is so important these days when people value the single unique hand made objects, rather than the throw away multi copy object which has no meaning and is of little value.
"People are starting their own collections by buying something of quality every year, people can identify with hand crafted object particularly when they are made if natural materials."
In this show our wood turner Kieran Higgins exhibits 4 of his bog oak bowls, these are fascinating artworks which are also functional bowls, in the video he explains he listens to the sound of the wood being turned to guide him in the making process.
Husband-and-wife team Jim Turner and Etain Hickey run Rossmore Pottery and have a craft shop in Clonakilty. Jim’s bowls sold out on the first day in China, as they resemble ancient Chinese porcelain – He also works in collaboration with Brian Lalor who paints the clay bowls with historic Irish scenes, as well as producing a wonderful set of his own etchings.
There was a great affinity with the Chinese people and we want to set up long term relations and work together on craft projects with our Chinese counterparts both in China and in Ireland and would love to see a centre of excellence set up in West Cork.
Alison Ospina is a greenwood chair maker and her “Google stool” is popular with both large corporations and individuals who want a handmade fluffy sheepskin stool with Hazelwood legs.
Two new hands to the group are Grainne Watts best known for her meticulously hand painted dots on her porcelain curved vortex bowls painted in vibrant colours.
Also, Ayelet Lalor has some amazing women sculptures of tall elongated figures and she says: "I've always been drawn to the female figure in my work, particularly strong, resilient archetypes".
Una Burke is our leading leather crafts worker who makes stunning costumes for films and Pop stars from Lady Gaga to Madonna, her designs are distinctly contemporary and high end fashion. She is inspired by the family tradition of generations of working with leather and even the tools handed down form her great, great grandfather.
In Angela Brady’s own fused glasswork the works are vibrant and colourfull and all pieces are unique “The transparency of glass with a splash of colour can light up a room and when creating it and you can never tell exactly how the glass will fuse and bend until its completed and you open the kiln” She also makes a selection of glass jewellery.
Also included in 10 hands is Mary Palmer the well known quilter who uses the best silks to create artworks with her sewing machine and steady hand and patience and she is inspired by Irish music and memory of places in her work.
Paddy McCormack is our metal worker who makes copper “Moon bowl” dishes and many bronze sculptures. Pat Connor is our well known ceramic sculptor and his animals and amusing heads are very particular to his creative designs.
Many of these crafts people’s works are now part of the Irish Embassy’s new contemporary craft collection which showcases the best of Irish craft and design and shows off Irish Design and Culture to visitors.