When Headford Lace Project called for submissions to The Space Between, an international exhibition of lace, curated by Fiona Harrington as part of the Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 celebrations, I knew I wanted to participate, but like much of my work, I wanted collaboration to be central to the creation of the piece.
I hoped to use and share my new-found, lacemaking skills to create a piece of work that could involve my community.
I had intended to not only show the work in a window in Headford, but to invite members of the community into the exhibition space to participate in the ongoing creation of the work, helping me to create lace patterns, that would transform into notes of a tune, 'Port san Aer' that could be heard as the lace floated off the pillow into the air.
I was looking forward to seeing the faces of children and adults as they sat to learn some basic lacemaking skills with me and helped with the work in progress for the duration of the exhibition.
COVID19 made an appearance in March 2020 and social gatherings are heavily restricted, altering the performative and interactive element of my exhibition submission.
However, in advance of the exhibition I asked some members of the community to mark some notes on cards I provided. These staves of music, have been used as pricking patterns to make lace and also to feed into a little music box, to create a tune.
By downloading a QR reader app to your phone and scanning the QR code in the catalogue or beside the exhibit, you can hear the tune created by the lace pattern.
If you would like to participate in this ongoing work, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send instructions.
Artist Statement for Port San Aer:
Port san Aer (Irish for ‘tune in the air’) is an installation artwork examining the space between my lacemaking and my community.
In bobbin lacemaking, the lacemaker begins with a pattern, known as a ‘pricking’. The pricking can sometimes look like a ‘stave’, the five lines and four spaces used to write music. So I began to wonder… what tune could my lace compose?
I provided members of my community with blank staves, where they punched a hole for each note. I used the stave as a pricking to create a simple linen-stitch strip of lace, where a bead for each note forms a pattern.
The lace rises into the air from my lacemaking pillow.
The pricking becomes a stave again as it passes through a music box, to create a tune.
The stave winds onto an antique bobbin from a long-forgotten textile mill, honouring the lacemaking heritage of Headford.
An Italian lacemaking term ‘Punto in Aria’ (which literally translates as ‘stitches in the air’) reminded me that ‘Aria’ is also a musical term for melody or tune. The Irish title of my piece ‘Port San Aer’ plays in the space where these ideas meet. Email email@example.com or use the QR code provided to listen or add to the tune!