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Symposium Speakers & Papers

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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.