Ireland’s craftspeople bring talents into homes to help during Covid lockdown

A giant glass quilt and community benches formed by blacksmiths are among the projects.

Work under way on a glass quilt
Work under way on a glass quilt

Many of Ireland’s craftspeople and makers are bringing their talents into homes and communities across the country as part of a nationwide campaign.

A giant glass quilt “sewn together” by makers across the country, community benches forged by blacksmiths and online workshops for children and adults are among some of the creative projects.

One of the leaders of the glass quilt project, Denmark-based Irish glass artist Aoife Soden, said it will be comprised of individual glass art pieces that will be “knitted” or attached into a large framework.

Up to 30 members of the Glass Society Of Ireland are involved in the creation of the unique art installation.

The quilt is made of glass (Wildbird Studio/PA)
The quilt is made of glass (Wildbird Studio/PA)

The theme of the unique installation is A Breath Of Fresh Air.

“We wanted to choose a theme that is very broad based and which encapsulated what a lot of different people living in different parts of the county or the world are currently experiencing during lockdown,” Ms Soden said.

“The idea of A Breath Of Fresh Air can be interpreted very literally or in a more abstract way.

“It can relate to the distance people have to their families and loved ones, the emotional experience of living in isolation, what individuals see or feel while exploring their limited area or perhaps new experiences they have enjoyed or found challenging during this period.

“This is a unique time in our lives.

“With lockdown and restrictions, a lot of people are using the time to explore their surroundings and to see and experience things they may not have noticed before.”

The work will then be displayed once it has been completed.

Crafters at work (Dylan Vaughan/PA)
Crafters at work (Dylan Vaughan/PA)

The project is the part of Slaintecare-funded collaboration between the Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) and Healthy Ireland.

The projects include online workshops, run by the Irish Patchwork Society, to teach people patchwork and quilting while members of the Irish Artist Blacksmiths Association are coming together to forge a bench that will be donated to a residential care unit.

Feltmakers Ireland are hosting a series of three online tutorials to members of the public, with participants contributing to a stained glass inspired felt piece to submit to the Evie And Us exhibition.

Cork Textiles Network are running a series of online stitch-based workshops, while the Quilters Guild Of Ireland is working with quilters to make quilts to benefit projects that support women and promote mental health.

The arts projects help alleviate the restrictions of lockdown (Dylan Vaughn/PA)
The arts projects help alleviate the restrictions of lockdown (Dylan Vaughn/PA)

DCCI chief executive Rosemary Steen said: “The Keep Well campaign is all about helping individuals and communities to stay healthy and well.

“Now more than ever, it’s important for your wellbeing to find new ideas that connect with your creative side and bring your imagination to life.

“Through our various programmes, we understand first-hand the impact that creativity through craft and design has on the overall wellbeing of citizens in our communities both at local and national level.

“The Keep Well campaign helps us to provide vital opportunities for public engagement with DCCI Members and Membership organisations through education and outreach.”

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