Recent Posts

Exhibition at Top Floor Art Gallery, Belfast

We’re delighted to announce we have been invited to participate in the NI Craft month as guest of Top Floor Art Gallery in Belfast.  A shortlisted selection has now been made by Mary Shoeser, Hon President of the Textile Society, who responded enthusiastically at the level of participating entries.

From over 100 entries a shortlist of 40 pieces has been selected to feature in this showcase including submissions from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the U.K. The importance of collaboration on this project between colleges and textile/stitch groups from polar opposites of the world, has proven that all cultures, ages and abilities have been able to relate to the brief and that the finished works show a broad depth of both skills and techniques.

We are particularly delighted that Nigel Cheney – the lecturer in Embroidered textiles at NCAD, Dublin – has loaned the coat that he has designed especially for Passion & Legacy. Nigel’s work has recently been featured in Irish Arts Review. This extraordinarily beautiful  piece has over 80 hours of hand stitching – a true example of passionate stitching!

Nigel Cheney

Nigel Cheney

17 Nigel Cheney work in progress

18 IMG_5970 Nigel Cheney work in progress

Do come and see this and other inspiring work at Top Floor from 5-31 August 2016.


Curator’s Choice – January 2016

These fabulous designs are our first ‘Curated Choice’ from recent entries to Passion & Legacy.

Lisa Kenny, GMIT

Lisa Kenny, GMIT

The first design is canvas embroidery by GMIT 4th year student Lisa Kenny. Taking Lady Corey’s  1911 interpretation of Henry Holiday’s ‘The Meeting of Beatrice & Dante’ as inspiration, Lisa has focused on the geometric and linear patterns of where path and building meet to produce a vibrant contemporary response.


Jane Carkill

Jane Carkill, GMIT

The second design is also by a GMIT student – 3rd year Jane Carkill.  Taking as inspiration Lady Carew’s ‘Pomegrante’ image – housed at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongewara like ‘The Meeting of Beatrice & Dante’ above – Jane has created an insightful mood board as her starting point.  Her drawings skills, combined with beautiful stitch and bead work result in an exquisite and sensitive response.

Symposium Schedule

Passion & Legacy: Celebrating 125 Years of Irish Textiles & Design

 Friday 22 January at the Belfast School of Art

9.15am          Registration & Coffee

10am             Welcome from Bruce Clark

10.15am        Dr Lynn Hulse          ‘The Embroidered Furnishings of the Lethbridge Sisters c. 1899-1922’

11am              Coffee

11.30am        Prof Nicola Gordon Bowe     ‘Textiles and the Arts & Crafts Movement in Ireland c. 1886-1920’

Noon              Alex Ward    ‘Irish Costume: Dress & Identity in the early 20th century’

12.30pm       Q&A

12.45pm       Lunch

1.45pm          Catherine O’Hara          ‘The Great Depression and Textile Innovation: Ulster’s Response’

2.15pm          Dr Karen Nickell       ‘Threads of Identity: Unpicking Northern Ireland’s Textile Culture’

2.45pm          Pamela Hardesty  ‘The Ground of Linen’

3.15pm          Q&A

3.30pm          Tea

3.45pm          Dr Helen McAllister & Nigel Cheney     ‘Contemporary Design’

4.15pm          Hazel Bruce                         ‘Own Practice’

4.45pm         Hermann Glaser-Baur        ‘Flax Mill Textiles’

5.15pm          Q&A

5.30pm         Close

Early-bird discount period extended

Early-bird discount period has been extended until 20 December 2015 for our Symposium Celebrating 125 Years of Irish Textiles & Design at the Belfast School of Art  & Design on Friday 22 January.

Also available for Private Museum Tours to the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum and the Irish Folk & Transport Museum.


Invitation GMIT Exhibition 3-12 December

Passion & Legacy Exhibition opening at GMIT

Passion & Legacy Exhibition opening at GMIT

Red Strand Design
The Centre for Creative Arts and Media
invite you to
The Exhibition Opening of Textile Work
celebrating international project
Passion & Legacy
GMIT Centre for Creative Arts and Media
Monivea Road, Galway H91 DY9Y

on Thursday 3 December 2015, 5:30 – 7 pm
Exhibition runs from 3- 12 December

Snapshot of NCAD 3rd Year Passion & Legacy work in progress

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the third year student work from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin

3rd Year Student work from NCAD

3rd Year Student work from NCAD

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Symposium Speakers & Papers

Book Here

Bruce Clark – ‘Welcome to the Symposium’

Prof Nicola Gordon Bowe – ‘Textiles and the Arts & Crafts Movement in Ireland c 1886-1920’

Dr Lynn Hulse – ‘The Embroidered Furnishings of the Lethbridge Sisters c 1899-1922’

Hazel Bruce – ‘Own Practice’

Hermann Glaser-Baur – ‘Flax Mill Textiles’

Pamela Hardesty – ‘The Ground of Linen’

Helen McAllister & Nigel Cheney – ‘Unravelling an Archive’

Karen Nickell – ‘Threads of Identity: Unpicking Northern Ireland’s Textile Culture’

Catherine O’Hara – ‘The Great Depression and Textile Innovation: Ulster’s Response’

Alex Ward – ‘Irish Costume: Dress & Identity in the early 20th century’

Prof Nicola Gordon Bowe, Associate Fellow, NCAD, has lectured and written widely on 19th and 20th century applied arts. Books include A Gazetter of Irish Stained Glass (1988), Harry Clarke. The Life & Work (4th ed. 2012), Art and the National Dream (1993), The Arts ad Crafts Movements in Dublin and Edinburgh (1998), Wilhelmina Geddes. Life and Art (2015). Contributions include to: The Cult of the Goddess (1975), Women Artists of Ireland (1987), Women Designing (1994), The Substance of Style (1996), Obscure Objects of Desire (1997), Irish Furniture (2000), Vernacular Art in Central Europe (2001), The Godollo Art Colony 1901-1920 (2003), The Irish Book in the 20th Century (2004), Print Culture (2006), Pockets of Memory (2011), Desire: Sonja Landweer’s Jewellery & Body Ornaments (2014).

Bruce Clark is an eminent journalist, author and linen historian, a direct descendant of William Clark who founded the family linen business in the Co. Londonderry village of Upperlands in 1736.

He has been involved with many exhibitions and symposia, exploring the history of linen and more recently with a unique photographic exhibition by leading German photographer, Burkhard Riegels. The black and white portrait series entitled Linen Characters pays tribute to the linen industry in Northern Ireland and was on display on the walls of the Great Hall in Parliament Buildings during September 2015..

He divides his time between London, where he works for The Economist, and his family home in Upperlands.

Dr Lynn Hulse is Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Editor of Text, the journal of the Textile Society; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London; Trustee of the Brangwyn Gift at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow and co-founder of Ornamental Embroidery. Her forthcoming book on the Lethbridge sisters will be published early in 2016.

Hazel Bruce is Lecturer in Textile Art at the Belfast School of Art and has exhibited in the UK, at the Rijswijk Museum, Holland, at 4th International Artistic Linen Cloth Biennial in Poland, and at Contemporary Crafts of Northern Ireland, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Dr Nigel Cheney is the lecturer in Embroidered textiles at NCAD, Dublin. His creative practice revolves around the act of drawing, painting and the production of stitched textiles, and has application for fashion, interiors, commission and gallery work. These express a love of narrative, imagery, surface and colour. Enjoying a full palette of textile processes including digital printing, hand and computerised machine embroidery his work often explores ambiguous territories where childlike phrases and idioms are often reinterpreted and juxtaposed to create new images. His approach to textile education is evident in Textile Surface Manipulation (Bloomsbury, 2013), co-written with Dr. Helen McAllister.

Pamela Hardesty, artist, has lectured in Textiles within Fine Art and Applied Art at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork, since 1991, and is an active member of Textiles Education and Research in Europe. As artist she creates largescale public commissions, and exhibits widely internationally, most recently in IrishWave 2015, in Shanghai and Beijing, China; Asia-Europe II: Contemporary Textile Art, touring France, Germany, and Lithuania in 2014-2015; and the solo show Making Holy, at Kaunas Art Academy Gallery, Lithuania in 2014.

Dr Helen McAllister’s practice is rooted in Embroidery. Winning a ‘Kilkenny Travel Scholarship’ in 1985; which funded visiting Italy. Since then Venice has had a profound impact and is a lasting influence and inspiration for the art and design practice. Undergraduate practice focused on domestic machine embroidered wall-hangings. The practice then under went a radial shift from 2D image-based illustrative style to that of 3D artefact, resulting in an MA (1999) from the NCAD. Work has been widely exhibited in group shows and exhibitions. Helen was First Winner in 2002 of the prestigious ‘Golden Fleece Award’. The embroidery medium now focuses on hand techniques and the crafted outcome. The embedding of materiality and process positions this research practice in the Applied Arts. The practice has been a constant dialogue between the shoe–derived form and that of historical Venice, resulting in a practice based PhD (2006) NCAD, that critically questioned ‘Binary oppositions – what constitutes a pair?’ The work investigated notions of the narrative, symbolism and metaphor that is interdisciplinary within Design and that of Material Culture. The engagement with the viewer and the ‘display’ of the made artefact propels the work in new contexts, having new audiences and new teaching situations.

Dr Karen Nickell is an artist, researcher and part-time lecturer in History and Theory for Textile Art, Design & Fashion at the Belfast School of Art. She was awarded a PhD from the Ulster University (2014) and this paper is part of her doctoral research, Embroidery in the Expanded Field: Textile Narratives in Irish Art post-1968.

Alex Ward is the curator of Dress and Textiles at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, responsible for a large and diverse collection of historic dress and textiles. She has curated exhibitions on the work of the Irish designer Neillí Mulcahy, known for her use of Irish handwoven tweeds, and more recently on the career of Ib Jorgensen, one of the most important figures in Irish fashion during the second half of the twentieth century.