Kamera 8, Rowe Street, Wexford Town
Exhibition opens on Tuesday 16 April 2019, 6-8pm
Exhibition continues 17 April – 29 April 2019
This exhibition is a response to a specific historical object, a silk embroidered collar and headpiece, which was hand woven by Elizabeth and Lily Yeats and worn by Countess Markievicz circa 1920. The collar has been borrowed from the Wexford County Archive and it will be placed on view in the gallery for the opening night only, and then returned to its permanent storage. The silk floss threads of the collar, hand stitched in a Celtic knot work design, are explored in a series of large painted Cyanotype prints, displayed on the gallery walls. Inspired by the obscured history of the Yeats sisters, these Cyanotypes are made using the light of the full moon.
In 1902 Lily and Elizabeth Yeats formed the DunEmer Guild in Dublin, employing 30 other women to work with them.
One of the main objectives of the Guild was ; To provide work for Irish women crafting art objects.
The Guild originated works, such as this collar and headpiece made for Countess Markievicz, by combining the use of traditional craft skills and design motifs, to signal a pride in Ireland’s past.
Each hand woven stitch mark made by the Yeats sisters is unique and a form of autobiographical mark making.
Each print in the exhibition ‘Silken Inke’ is also unique and hand painted and focuses on both honoring and exploring the stitch marks made by Lily and Elizabeth Yeats.
I have also delicately made my own imprint onto each print in the exhibition, by using blue ink to highlight and pop out some of the individual stitch marks.
The title for the exhibition comes from an old sentence written in the 1800’s, which described embroidery as a form of life-writing, stating that embroidery is like ‘using a Pen of Steele and Silken Inke’.
Just like the memory and story of the Yeats sisters has been obscured and hidden from our history, each print in the exhibition aims to represent that faded, mysterious and hidden history of Lily and Elizabeth Yeats.
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