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'Reconnection' Exhibition 2013

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Reconnection Exhibition with Mia Leijonstedt

at the Denis Collins Gallery, Wexford Quay, Opera Festival 2013.

Mia Leijonstedt and I studied calligraphy and bookbinding together in London where we shared a desk. Some years later we lost touch. Last year we reconnected. We decided to celebrate our mutual pleasure at this reconnection with an exhibition which Denis Collins agreed to host; the title 'Reconnection' seemed most apt for our show. (Sadly my dear friend Denis Collins has since died and is greatly missed.)

Taking the title Reconnection I decided to reconnect with my family history in the Linen Relics series and with images for the States of Mind series which had waited some years to be realised.

The Linen Relics series grew from a need to make some veneration of my maternal Ulster family, these are in fact Relics both of the linen and of those who used it. My mother's paternal grandparents, Peter Dowd and Isabella Girven both worked in a Mill in Belfast where he oversaw the preparing of threads for weaving into linen cloth. My mother's maternal great grandmother, known as Grandmama O'Hara, wove linen in her farmhouse and used it in all aspects of her life including for bandages and healing.

The first image Linen Blue says 'linen flowers stems fibres steeping'; this refers both to my ancestors who loved flowers and who grew linen.

Second is Linen Red - 'linen noise weave employment pain' - to remember both the necessity and hardship of working in the mills.

Then Linen Green says 'linen grass sunlight quiet bleaches', peace and rest after hard labour.

Linen Yellow remembers those dressmakers and those who loved to use the fabric ' linen crisp embroidered ironed admired'.

Finally Linen Brown to remember those who used the linen rags for the essential work of healing 'linen old soft bandages healing'.

The States of Mind series celebrates what we all do - we're walking along looking perfectly normal from the outside but our minds are far away. Each year I worked with my W.I.T. Design students on colour theory and longed to get my own hands multicoloured; these stencils were a perfect opportunity to do just that. Each one is a series of six, a book containing one of each was also produced, the stencils themselves were also exhibited so that more cannot be made.

Please note that some prints, and the book, are still available. Please contact me if you are interested. Each print was differently coloured.

The coloured stencils were the plan: that the stencils themselves were so lovely was a complete surprise.

Mia and I agreed that we would each work on a 'blind collaboration' as living in different countries made a collaboration unworkable. A blind collaboration is one where we each send the other an item or portion of a piece and the other incorporates it into a new piece without consultation.

Blind Collaboration: Mia sent the stone which resulted in this piece called "the stone of friendship sits lightly upon our experiences, colouring our vision'.

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