Archive for November, 2009

And We’re Back!

Monday, November 30th, 2009

irenses office open

I’m glad to say we are back in the comfort of our office again after the water distribution problems have been solved for most of Cork City. Hopefully we won’t have to endure such dramatic scenes as the recent flooding for some time to come.

We know a lot of businesses who endured and are continuing to endure far more serious problems as a result of the floods. We wish them and all those individuals and businesses around Ireland a swift recovery.

A tale told in thread – The Ros Tapestry

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Taking advantage of my excursion back home, I visited the Ros Tapestry held in the Ros Expo on the Quay, New Ross. The Tapestry is an amazing accomplishment which was started way back in 1998 by Ann Bernstorff and over 100 dedicated embroiderer volunteers from the wider New Ross community.

The tapestry has been a huge artistic undertaking, detailing fifteen richly embroidered panels, although the project is still three panels short of completion. The beauty of community spirit in this project is highlighted by the fact the three remaining unfinished panels are being completed in volunteer homes in New Ross, Bunclody and Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. The painstaking and time-consuming needlework is entirely carried out by volunteers who come together in these homes.

The Ros Tapestries illustrate the events of the Anglo-Norman arrival to the South East of Ireland, specifically the founding of the town of New Ross, Co. Wexford by William Marshall and Isabel de Clare. The content for the tapestry panels was exhaustively researched and designed by Ann Bernstorff (The Countess Bernstorff), ranging from the value of cattle under Brehon laws to the Italian bankers who operated in Ros. Her designs are painted to scale for the embroiders to reference while they undertake the painstaking task of replicating the designs on the 6×4 foot panels. The sowing of each panel has been overseen by Alexis Bernstorff who has trained extensively in the area of embroidery and restoration. Her eye for detail ensures the correct colours for the era and that the characters & locations are in keeping with historical context.

The Irish Arts Review described the undertaking as an epic embroidered narrative of the Norman invasion of Ireland. Epic it certainly is, the detail of the panels can only be truly appreciated in person, photos simply cannot capture the layers, depth and colour of the embroidery. Unfortunately our very knowledgeable guide Peter told us that photography is not permitted of the completed panels but I managed to take a few shots of a panel currently in progress below. To view the fifteen panels online visit the Ros Tapestry here.

The painting by Ann Bernstorff for the embroiders to reference

The painting by Ann Bernstorff for the embroiders to reference

The incomplete embroidery of the painting above

The incomplete embroidery of the painting above

The work station of an incomplete embroidery panel

The work station of an incomplete embroidery panel

A Robin paid a visit today

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

First of all, this post has nothing to do with design but I hope random irrelevant posts like this can sometimes stir the imagination. I quite enjoy walking around in nature and attempt to photograph wildlife at times although I’m certainly no David Attenborough. So it was kind of cool when wildlife landed in on my doorstep while visiting my parents home in Wexford this weekend. A beautiful Robin flew in the window as I worked on the computer. Seeing a wild Robin up close was really cool, he was flying from one room to another ignoring all the windows we left open for him to escape through. Eventually after he flew up a flight of stairs and visited three bedrooms he decided to fly out the window and off into the garden.

It reminded me of a time when I was younger, Dad and his friend Paddy Doyle brought me to Philip Heenan’s Ringroe Stud, Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary to see the famous show jumping stallion Clover Hill. I had never met anyone quite like Philip Heenan before or afterward. When I first met him he was sitting in the stable with two Robins sitting on his shoulder, it was quite extraordinary to see wild birds to flock over to land on his hand or shoulder. You could sense that he was a gentle soul and the wildlife responded to his calm ways. Paddy had told me previously that if Philip didn’t like the look of the mare or owner he wouldn’t allow the mare to be covered by his stallion which I still find a fascinating quirk. Click on the photo of Philip Heenan with Clover Hill here.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera way back when in 1996 but luckily I had one to take a few photographs of the Robin that paid a visit today.

The on top of the dresser in my parents room
The Robin on top of the dresser in the bedroom
A close up of the robin

A close up of the Robin's feathers

Various different angles of the Robin

Various photos of the Robin as he flew from room to room inspecting the house!

Kilkenny Design Craft Centre

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I had the pleasure of visiting Kilkenny on Friday and took the chance to visit the Kilkenny Design Craft Centre in its beautiful surroundings opposite Kilkenny Castle. Unfortunately my camera’s battery died shortly after I took these photos, so I can’t show you some of the work currently on show in the National Craft Gallery. However this really cool swing outside the Gallery below – really impressed me! This is one of the reasons why Kilkenny Design Craft Centre is so important for all Irish designers and people alike. Designs like that swing, which would seem to some people almost impossible to design or build are designed and built by expert crafts people there. I like a place where the impossible is made possible, its like a playground of fantasy.

Got talking to a woman who works in the Gallery from Cork and discussed everything from the amount of galleries closing in Cork and the flooding in the city, but mostly about the work on show in the gallery. There was a nice typography project on show, a contemporary Irish typeface designed by a NCAD student. I believe the font was called Insular, unfortunately my camera was out of action to show you.


Friday, November 27th, 2009

In an effort to take advantage of this great November sunlight I’ve been practicing my camera skills. Took this photograph outside the grounds of a disused hospital in Cork. I didn’t hang around there long, the place had a real eerie atmosphere.