STUDIO / DESIGNER
Fashion, Textiles & Jewellery Design
Alison Conneely (Curator, commissioner & designer)
Larry Beau (Digital painting)
Mary Palmer (Textile painting)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
’If I have to call on the terminology of religion, it is because that is the language evolved to address the highest, and the highest is what lies under our feet and bears us up’. Tim Robinson.
Blanketed under peat for 4000 years, this bean feasa, inspired by fellow Connemara muse Olwen Fouéré, summons us to rise with her as she emerges from an enduring antiquity, into a world where the past is banished through our collective rising. Hair flows through electric timelines, voyaging through celestial veins of women in Ireland, Iran and elsewhere, entwining our collective desire for life & freedom. This textile, narrated through thousands of kilometers of transcendental threads & hidden symbolism, is a ‘global call to action’ against misogyny, sexism and violence against women.
Thread painting & digital painting is an unusual approach requiring a high degree of skill. This approach was decided upon after 11 months of prototyping.
How the brief was fulfilled
‘Ascension’ is a large scale textile artwork measuring 2.5 x 1.75 meters.
It is part of a larger project entitled Hail Thee: We Come in Reveries of Change, created in partnership with UNFPA, the United Nation’s Fund for Population activities. It asks us to create new ways of interacting with each other and our planet that transcends borders and species.
The original artwork was digitally painted over hundreds of hours. It was silk screen printed onto organic cotton in 2 large sections, due to the size of the loom. Both sections were aligned and hand sewn together to create an invisible joint. This was then layered with a black poplin cotton as a backing fabric, creating a front & back. Two layers of wadding, one cotton and one wool was placed in-between. This sandwich created enough density to allow the stitch to sit well on the fabric and also create a 3D dimension, allowing great contrast particularly around the text.
Threads collected from around the globe were selected in a range of colours to blend in, complement, contrast, draw-in and pull-out, taking us from turbulence to calm over the printed areas. Over forty colour threads were used, equating to thousands of kilometres densely stitched throughout the quilt.
Each area was created using free-hand stitching on an industrial machine which is moved by hand over the piece, painting with thread in patterns which activate the printed design, these patterns are all original and are designed as the project develops and evolves.
The text ‘We Come in Reveries of Change’ at the bottom of the textile was printed on paper, transferred to the fabric with an unthreaded needle, the background was densely stitched with thousands of stitches in one small area to create an embossed effect.
The thread is matched on the top and bottom, creating a visual landscape on the back which is a ghostly echo of the printed and stitched imagery on the front.
After stitching, ‘Ascension’ was dampened and stretched on a wall, measured, squared and trimmed. The border was faced to create an edge which floats gently in space.
A challenging subject, tackled beautifully through the depiction of a feminine strength and empowerment that binds us together globally. A phenomenal feat of creativity, skill and patience. Superb execution, both technically and aesthically."