Exhibition Curation | Commissions | Press | Exhibitions | Awards | Residency
DCCI & Irish Consulate 2021
I have been asked by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland in collaboration with the Irish Consulate in Chicago to be a panellist on a webinar celebrating Irish design.
I will be chatting with Nora Gainer of the Art Institute of Chicago about my current project Women's Stories - 100 contemporary icons.
Please go to the Consulate's website for information.
RDS Irish Craft Bursary 2019
In late 2019 I received news that I had won this year's RDS Irish Craft Bursary.
The RDS supports this initiative which is a €10,000 bursary managed by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) and open to makers in its Portfolio programme. The RDS Irish Craft Bursary is part of the restructured RDS Craft Awards announced in 2018. The bursary is open to all members of DCCI's wider Portfolio programme which is a group of over 150 makers.
This award will support an ambitious project that will see the production of 100 contemporary icons inspired by and dedicated to women. The RDS bursary will support a period of research in addition to the production of this work. This body of wall-based work will explore the narrative format while utilising skills and techniques familiar to the jeweller, thereby allowing each vignette to retain the intimacy more acquainted with the brooch. Assemblage and symbolic references will combine to construct a micro cosmos unique to each protagonist. They will serve to honour and eulogise the individual.
City in Motion 2019
In October I facilitated a second workshop at the museum. This workshop utilised analogue technologies to create visual representations of the theme City in Motion. Participants explored various photographic techniques including photograms, cyanotypes and (weather-permitting) pinhole photography.
Source material was collated in advance from maps and existing photographs, printed on acetate and available to create unique collages. The goal is to experiment with this imagery in order to create unique negatives that can be subsequently printed as a photographic record.
The cityscape is a constantly evolving environment and this workshop challenges the participant to create a unique visual document of that space.
Here is a link to a video tutorial for those interested in giving it a try.
Stoneybatter Festival 2019
In June I facilitated a Pinhole workshop as part of the Stoneybatter Festival. This workshop introduced participants to analogue technology and facilitated access to a darkroom experience where they learned how to ‘make’ a self-portrait. Pinhole photography is utilised to challenge the public to reconsider the process of self-portrait making or to use the vernacular ‘taking selfies’. Participants utilised this effective low-tech method to create an image requiring stillness and quiet.
It is quite magical to see an empty tin produce a quality photograph in a matter of minutes.
Here and Now 2019
You are Here
You Are Here refers to the maps we often use to locate ourselves in relation to a particular environment. The clients using Foyleville Day Centre have been diagnosed with various stages of dementia. Memory is so important to these individuals and they often relate their past through various localities. This artwork will give a visual opportunity for this.
This work will be completed by the group at Foyleville Day Centre with individuals introduced to several art techniques. The goal is to create a large-scale wall mounted artwork.
Using the map of the city as a template and utilising a simplified version of papier mâché a 3-dimensional map will be created. This artwork will be serve as a method for locating individuals in the city in relation to the centre which is pivotal to their individual geography. The river will be recreated through cyanotype printmaking.
Several key sites in the city will be created, possibly using laser-cutting technology. These ‘markers’ will be applied to the map as pushpins.
Twilight project 2019
I was asked by Arts Care artist in residence, Bronagh-Corr-Mc Nicholl to collaborate with her on a project based in several care homes throughout the north west. Participants were challenged to create a meaningful artwork utilising a portrait and exploring various printmaking tachniques.
IASP Conference 2019
In 2019 the International Association for Suicide Prevention conference was held in Derry. The organisers wanted to include an art-walk in the schedule of activities for attendees in the city. Arts Care were tasked with the job of coordinating this and invited artists to participate. I facilitated two workshops; pinhole photography and medal casting.
I undertook the pinhole photography workshops with the New Horizon group. We based ourselves in a temporary darkroom in the nerve Centre. A selection of black and white photographs were created documenting the city centre. Subsequently they were re-coloured digitally to create very colourful graphic images that were printed large-scale and installed on the city walls.
The second workshop took place at the Well Womans Centre. The participants designed and cast a series of medals that were presented to the keynote speakers at the conference in the Millennium Forum. The goal was to create a medal that would embody the essence of the city and would be a legacy object.
Artwork installed on City Walls
Re-coloured pinhole photographs
Well Woman's group
The collection 'Signatories' was purchased by National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks.
This series of contemporary icons was inspired by the exhibition curated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Each icon depicts a signatory of the proclamation and includes visual references to the GPO , letterpress process and the dates of execution. Techniques used to create the work include etching of the proclamation in brass sheet with image transferred onto metal.
The Museum is the ultimate home for this work as it closes the circle from design inspiration to completion.
Creative Schools 2019
Later in 2019 I was asked to work with St Safan's National School on their Creative Schools project. They wanted to use the funding to up-skill both students and teachers and engaged the entire school community. I designed a project that addressed three different sets of skills working with three different classes/age-groups. I facilitated a workshop with the teachers to introduce the techniques prior to the in-class workshops. Techniques covered included; printmaking, photograms, pinhole photography and 3-d sculpture. One of the outcomes was the creation of three workshop kits with the necessary materials and tools required to repeat any of the processes.
The outcomes were showcased in an exhibition that was open to the public.
Creative Cluster 2019
I was invited to design and deliver a project as part of the Creative Cluster programme, initiated by the Department of Education and Skills.
Three schools collaborated; Scoil Iosagain, St Mura's and St Oran's National schools. The theme we chose was Love Your Beach with the intention to engage the entire community to take an active role in maintaining local beaches.
The project took place over several weeks and included a beach clean-up and art workshops inspired by this. We even got coverage on RTE's Seascapes radio broadcast hosted by Fergal Keane.
Art techniques explored included cyanotype, plaster and sand casting. The students used items from their beach explorations to make impressions in the casting mould and these were cast in pewter, creating individual medals. These medals were awarded to each student and a selection of VIP guests by the then Minister for Education Joe Mc Hugh.
Plaster casting into clay
Sand casting pewter
Residency Sept/Oct 2017
I am in sandnes Norway for a month-long residency where I am undertaking the expanded SELFmade project to incorporate the MADEhere element, documenting the spaces in addition to faces of the community.
Follow progress via my Blog
Tim Webster Award for Creative Arts 2017
Oakgrove Integrated School
I was approached by the headmistress of Oakgrove Integrated Primary School, Ashley Donaghey to create a perennial award for creative arts. This award has been commissioned to celebrate one of the school's founding members, Tim Webster who retires from the school board this year after 26 years of service.
I took inspiration from several sources including the school gates which were designed by Tim. The oakleaf and map of the city are also referenced.
The award was presented in this it's inaugural year to Luke Doherty who as it turns out is my nephew.
Residency April 2017
I am undertaking a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. The intention is twofold; to undertake the SELFmade project with residents and to explore options for integrating pinhole imagery into my studio practice.
I have used the same pinhole cameras for at least 15 years teaching kids and community groups how to make photographs with essentially a tin with a hole. They work really well and I love the results every time. I have always had an interest in combining photographic imagery with metal and/or 3-d forms but never quite figured out a way I was satisfied with. This month is all about working through that process.
I also explored the technique of cyanotype which offered options for translation of the pinhole imagery collated during the period. I am excited about the subsequent combination of form and image.
The Innovative Merger of Art & Guns to Inspire New Expressions, or IMAGINE PEACE NOW Exhibition, is a call to arms, hearts and hands intended especially for contemporary metal artists. Included work will respond to, and initiate conversations regarding, the gun violence so prevalent in American culture today.
2016 is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. His words have become part of our everyday vocabulary and his literary works still hold a fascination for his plots, characterization and dialogue. This appetite is still evident in Irish curriculum and International theatre attendance. His work has been adapted and reinterpreted through a myriad of mediums and in a variety of styles. Much scholarly research has gone into the origin of the stories he told and the historical accuracy of the plays. Specualtion and intrigue surround his legacy resulting in a creative freedom for unique interpretation. This exhibition showcases a variety of nuanced responses to the life of Shakespeare and the complex and fascinating characters he created; an ‘adaptation’ through crafted objects and artworks. Taking very different approaches to the Shakespearian canons of tragedies, comedies and historical dramas this exhibition showcases new work from these makers specifically for this venue. Through the common ground of dialogue and narration in the creation of artefacts that have layered meanings and codified details. The notion that drama is about performance, acting, telling of a story seems to suggest a similar role for the visual artist in that by what is made, it’s presentation, how it ‘speaks’ to a viewer, and engages with an audience is all ‘dramatisation’.
Penland summer 2016
Artful Eating Utensils
Tired of using mundane utensils that ruin the poetry of your meals? This workshop will awaken your cutlery sets by recycling them into the tabletop crown jewels they were meant to be. Students will transform flatware using a variety of materials and techniques. Demonstrations will include fabrication, marriage of metals, cold joining, stonesetting, hinges, simple forging, and much more. Students may also design and create utensils from scratch. We’ll explore structure, design, and conceptual issues. All levels. Code 03MA
Boris: studio artist; teaching: Haystack (ME), Arrowmont (TN); collections: Museum of Arts and Design (NYC). Seliena: studio artist; teaching: Indiana University, National College of Art & Design (Ireland); exhibitions: National Craft Gallery (Ireland), Electrum Gallery (London).
Please visit the Penland website for more information.
Residency May 2016
I am undertaking the StudioWorks Residency to enable a period of dedicated time and space to develop strategies that will see a seismic shift in my work. The emphasis on community involvement is ultimately the most appealing element of this residency as the goal would be to create work dependant on that engagement.
I want to further investigate cultural identity through site specific photographic image making, in this instance site being inextricably linked to community. The intention is to explore possibilities for combining photographic imagery with relevant forms to create expressive objects.
The intention is to develop a community-based portrait brooch project. I am particularly interested in jewellery as a physical and conceptual manifestation of community and culture. The photographic portrait holds significance in many cultures and fulfils multiple functions in historic and contemporary life.
Golden Fleece Award 2015
I won the overall prize in the 2015 Golden Fleece Awards. I applied for this Award to enable me to undertake a career break from my day job that would facilitate an extended period of research and development towards a new body of work, and to attend the 2015 SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference in Boston, USA.
I was invited to participate in and attend the 2015 international exhibition in Beijing as a guest of the organisers.
Participants took part in a symposium and presentation with students.
The Contemporary Jewellery Exchange
Sand-casting Pre - David Clarke
The goal of these workshops was to introduce NWRC students to metal (sand) casting, a method employed by renowned silversmith David Clarke who undertook a three-day masterclass with North West Regional College students.
Design to Prototype
This project was designed to introduce North West Regional College students to design methodologies in the context of client centered product design. A collaboration was established between CultureCraft and the Walled City Brewery with workshops facilitated by ceramic artist, Alex Scott. The brief, to design functional beakers for use in the brew pub.
This project was part funded by ID2015 and Derry City Council's Craft Development Programme.
Culture in the Making
In 2013 I curated this exhibition, as a response to Derry hosting the inaugural UK City of Culture. The exhibition showcased 36 of Ireland’s, North and South, best creative talent. These contemporary practitioners represented a diverse range of craft disciplines and embodied a wide variety of cultural identities and backgrounds. In addition, there was an associated programme; Master Residency / Maker Workshops. These allowed for public access to technique and materials through artist residency whilst developing a practice of endowment of subsequent craft objects/artworks to the city. A highlight of the project was the acceptance of my invitation to officially launch the exhibition by President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.
Photographs of artist work courtesy Sylvain Deleu.
Pinhole Visions 2013
Masterclass with Dr Caroline Madden
I co-facilitated the CultureCraft glass masterclass with glass artist and educator, Dr Caroline Madden. The function of this 5-day residency/workshop was two-fold; facilitating public access to technique and materials through artist residency whilst developing a practice of endowment of subsequent craft objects to the city. This finished artwork is temporarily on display in the Guildhall in Derry.
Artist statement (CultureCraft)
I was born in Derry. A descriptor that has become somewhat of a Shibboleth*. Assumptions will be formulated and applied consciously or otherwise. Being native to Northern Ireland and in particular of an age to be considered a 'child of the Troubles' one grew up with an inbuilt social barometer based on your upbringing. An undeniable trait of Northern Irish cultural behaviour is a dogged determination, on meeting someone for the first time, to pigeon-hole, label if you like. Labels are applied at a sub-conscious, unspoken level. We all do it, it's part of our collective genetic make-up one of those characteristics that unites the populace. The work Untitled/Unlabelled relies on this unique learned behaviour to engage the viewer in a social experiment. Given the choice, how would you label yourself? Is there an adequate or appropriate set of linguistic signifiers capable of the task? For many years the public service of Northern Ireland required potential employees to complete an equal opportunities questionnaire. For all intents and purposes, an official mechanism to 'pigeon-hole'. I have used this to identify descriptors that I have appropriated for this work This work questions the fundamental function of a specific jewellery type. Historically, the brooch embraced both form and function. Throughout the ages it has evolved and its format has been appropriated by various user-groups to fulfil a specific need i.e. recognition of military heroism or sporting prowess. Made from precious materials, it ultimately denotes status and/or wealth whilst in utilitarian form, it functions to identify, such as corporate pins or name badges. I have created a series of badges/pins using a nostalgic yet nonetheless effective label-making device. The choice of pin(s) lies with the wearer, an exercise in self-determination if you like. There is no criterion in place for judgment or analysis, simply recognition of difference at a micro level, often lost when tribal politics determines the macro characterisation. Inherent in this process is a fundamental question; just how comfortable are you 'wearing' your (cultural) identity...is it a badge of honour or unwelcome branding?
A shibboleth (/ˈʃɪbəlɛθ/ or /ˈʃɪbələθ/) is a word, sound, or custom that a person unfamiliar with its significance may not pronounce or perform correctly relative to those who are familiar with it. It is used to identify foreigners or those who do not belong to a particular class or group of people. It also refers to features of language, and particularly to a word or phrase whose pronunciation identifies a speaker as belonging to a particular group.
Dubh Dialogues in Black
The exhibition “dubh – dialogues in black” looks at black as both a physical and an emotional starting point for a group of Irish and American artists, craftspeople and designers. Pairing people from across a range of disciplines, ranging from architecture, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, metal, painting, photography, textiles and wood, this exhibition features work from the most interesting creative voices from Ireland in dialogue with their American peers.
American Irish Historical Society 6 Oct - 27 Nov 2011
Oliver Sears Gallery 2 Feb - 15Mar 2012