This was work from a group show, Connection Project, which was launched on Culture Night 2018 in Sligo. The exhibition space was the former premises of Happy Hobbies, a craft shop that we were asked to respond to. More details about the exhibition can be read here. The banners were made in collaboration with my mother, Leona. Below is the text I wrote to accompany.
A World of Shared Understanding
For this project I felt drawn to the philosophy behind crafting, the homemade and D.I.Y. aspect and how empowering that sense of shared understanding seems today. During the heyday of Happy Hobbies, this was a time when many people would have been similarly able to service and fix their own cars, take on improvement projects around the home and grow some of their own food. While this of course does still happen, it has become much less common for a myriad of reasons.
Visiting the former premises and speaking with its owner, Mary Foley, reminded me of the everyday crafting my Mother and Grandmother would have done as I was growing up. They would be knitting jumpers, repairing and altering clothes, making dresses from patterns, stitching rugs and doing crochet and embroidery for decoration. In primary school I also learned the rudiments of a number of crafts, such as knitting, rug making and sewing. While all types of crafting have experienced a revival of interest thanks to the Internet, during the 1970s and 80s and before, this was still a common and necessary activity.
At this time, people had more time to themselves, less money and cheap, mass produced goods were not as prevalent as they are today. It was a time when if something was broken or no longer of use, it was still within people’s grasp to fix or adapt it; when we didn’t yet largely depend on main dealers, experts and professionals to do often quite simple things for us. Before ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ became an environmental slogan, this was everyday life, when nothing was wasted. Before online instructional videos there was also a reason to tap into the shared knowledge of family, friends and members of the community, to share their know-how. Before popular concepts of mindfulness and being in the moment, crafting could provide this outlet as well.
Lastly, I thought it would be fitting to collaborate with my Mother on this work about shared understanding.