Design and Crafts Council of Ireland,
Portfolio Programme Critical Selection, 2017-2018

Photography:Julie Connellan and Peter Rowen for DCCOI, 2017

This work was inspired by a story about fishermen of the Aran Islands.

When unable to go to sea due to storm conditions, these fishermen would hand knit garments using wool and goose quills. It is a story that subverts common assumptions about gender roles and domestic activities. It removes the activity from any notions of romantic, sentimental associations with female domesticity and shows us instead an activity firmly rooted in a specific design need, the need for warm, water resistant clothing while fishing from exposed boats in Atlantic waters. I gathered wild bird feathers and horsehair found among grass and rocks and caught on barbed wire fences. These fragile and transient objects have been carefully combined and attached to the very thin but strong silver plates to form these brooches. The plates themselves have been perforated based on hand knitting patterns associated with coastal regions where communities fish. The materials contrast strength and vulnerability, permanence and transience. These brooches are ultimately a kind of memento mori that point towards our fragility and humanity.

   ©Peter Rowen, DCCOI. Swansong    ©Peter Rowen, DCCOI. Clipped Wings    ©Peter Rowen, DCCOI. Pens    Clipped Wings    Swansong    Swansong, Clipped Wings, Pens