By Angela Weisgal
Limerick and Galway vied for European Capital of Culture 2020 and ultimately Galway was picked in the end, but Limerick wants to show that the city is regenerating and is an artistic place with 100 events being held on the annual Culture Night celebration. Three makers of Limerick spoke to The Limerick Voice about their art and their backgrounds.
Demonstrations and meet and greets were held at Made in Limerick’s shop in the basement of 17 Thomas Street. The shop is a collective of 18 artists and it is open from Thursday-Saturday. All artwork in the shop is by artists who reside in Limerick City and County.
Different styles of art in many different colours can be found and at all price ranges from €5 to €200. Also, no two times you walk into the store is it going to be the exact same as before. “We keep changing products to keep the place looking fresh and new,” Susan McCarthy, a maker at the shop said. At all times there is an artist or maker there to discuss their art.
Susan McCarthy is one of the five original founders of the Made in Limerick collective. Her art is inspired by architecture around Limerick, such as The Living Bridge at University of Limerick. She sold foam necklaces, inspired by the “twists and turns” and “weaving” of the Living Bridge. Her art is made by laser cutting and silversmithing. “I use the laser cutting machine down in the Fab Lab, which is in Rutland Street,” “So you’d sit at home and do the drawings on a drawing package and then it communicates, obviously, with the machine to cut them out,” she described the process.
She also uses traditional methods such as saws, files, and drills to create jewellery and functional products. Working with resin is a challenge and McCarthy describes it as an “unforgiving material” because it easily scratches and if it is scratched, it cannot be sold. Aside from her art business, she teaches silversmithing and jewellery design in Clonmel.
Ted Little makes a range of jewellery inspired by Celtic and contemporary forms and the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and works with many different materials such as leather, silver, and enamel. He started off as an apprentice at Marconi Radar, later on moved onto teaching instrument making to apprentices, and then studied mechanical engineering.
One piece of jewellery he made took 60 hours to make. He takes a flat sheet of metal and shapes them around a stake and turns the piece over and shapes it the other way to make a saddle shape and it flattens out in the other direction. “It takes ages to do it because you form it that way, you turn it over to form it the other way and it flattens out the way you previously formed it,” Mr Little said. The metal has to be worked with constantly or else it can harden and can crack. “The artwork comes from a range of different inspirations,” he added. He had contemporary style rings, Celtic pendants, and hyperbolic paraboloid shaped earrings on display in a case on the shop.
Daiva Stasiukynaite is a textile designer originally from Lithuania who has lived in Ireland since 2001. At first, her work with textiles was a hobby, but she has since turned it into a business. “I started doing gifts for my friends,” Daiva said about her beginnings. Daiva’s Textiles has been in business for almost three years. Before that, she studied art and architecture at University of Limerick.
Her technique for creating accessories is taking natural fabrics and painting or dying them by hand, so no two pieces are alike. The painted fabric takes a few days of being wrapped in plastic in order for the colour to set in and absorb properly. The colour scheme of her scarves and shawls is inspired by scenery all around the country. “Inspiration for me is really beautiful landscapes of Ireland because I found it really incredible. Wherever you travel, you just take pictures of the shore and mountains, hills, bogland, and also the art,” Daiva said.