The Filament Fibre Artists were treated to a fascinating visit to Fancroft Mill and gardens in glorious summer sunshine last week. When we were invited to visit Fancroft we jumped at the chance to see a working mill that has been completely restored over the last few years due to the dedication of its owners Irene and Marcus Sweeney.
We arrived early in the day to explore the beautiful gardens and enjoy the summer colour at a leisurely stroll before taking advantage of Irene’s tasty refreshments.
Marcus then took us on a tour of the renovated mill. His passion for the renovation, knowledge of the history and working of the mill and his attention to detail were very inspiring. Having such a knowledgeable guide added a great deal to our visit and to our ability to understand the mill we have been researching in Kells in Kilkenny which sadly, is no longer working.
We visited the grain store and had an insight into the type of working environment labourers would have dealt with in the mills. Then we explored the mill race, sluice gates and the mill wheel itself and Marcus explained the workings of the water wheel and its restoration. The cool atmosphere was filled with the steady mesmeric movement and sound of the wheel.
We moved on to the part of the mill where grain is ground into flour. The conservation and restoration of the structure is immaculate. Many of the original elements of the mills mechanics have been retained and are now hundreds of years old. Once they began to move we felt history come to life. The whole building began to thrum and pulse with a low vibration which began with the water in the wheel and made its way up through the mill stones to the whirring belts and shafts on the floors above.
The simplicity and the ingeniousness of the mechanism was very moving and we came away with a deep respect for the people that designed, built and worked this mill. We also gained a new appreciation of what our Mill in Kells must have been like in its glory days.
We left the cool interior of the mill and returned to the treats of Irene’s wonderful kitchen and a feast fit for royalty. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and learned more of the couples experience with the restoration and upkeep of the mill and gardens.
It was a wonderful and fascinating visit that will inform our work into the future and fuel creativity energy in the new phase of our Mill project. Filament Fibre Artists would like to thank our hosts, Marcus and Irene most sincerely for their wonderful hospitality, their wealth of knowledge and their generosity in giving us their time.
Filament Fibre Artists have been working hard in preparation for this year’s Knitting and Stitching Fair at the RDS. Now the Fair is up and running and our new work from the Mill project is on show in our “Studio Exhibition”.
The idea behind the “Studio Exhibition” is to show the progression of work from source to product and so the exhibition features drawings, photos, samples and information about the Mill and how the individual artists approached the theme.
The intention is that this work will continue to develop over the next twelve months or so and become the content of a broader exhibition. We have been delighted to hear the feedback and interest of the viewers at the RDS in both the work on display and the theme of the Mill. Thanks to all who have come view the work and to chat with the artists on hand at the stand.
We will of course be available at the RDS until Sunday if you haven’t had the chance to visit yet!
Filament members had a productive meeting today to review the latest work on the Mill project. We are preparing to show our work at this years Knitting and Stitching Fair in the RDS. Here are some images of the work in progress.
Tara Ní Nualláin has two pieces of work showing in this years Sculpture in Context in the Botanical Gardens. The Exhibiiton opened to the public last week and will run untill the 19th of October.
Sheila Jordan wins first prize in Felt
Filament Artists had a great day at the RDS National Crafts Competition prize giving today. Sheila Jordan took 1st prize in the Felting category with her beautiful felt bowls from the ”Trasna na Farraige” series and Tara Ní Nualláin won 2nd prize in the Embroidery category with “Building Blocks”.
Tara Ní Nualláin with her 2nd prize in Embroidery
Sheila and Tara were delighted with their prizes and to be taking part in the exhibition at the RDS highlighting the very best in Irish Craft. Congratulations to all the prize winners and many thanks to all those involved in the organisation of the competition.
After the Exhibition in the RDS concert Hall from the 10th to the 19th of August the prize winner’s exhibition will travel to Cruchan Aí Heritage Centre in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon in September www.rathcroghan.ie and to The Discovery Park, Castlecommer Co. Kilkenny in October www.discoverypark.ie
Lucinda Jacob and Sheila Jordan had a wonderful weekend at the DLR Fusion Festival in the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire with their Fabric of Life Workshops. Working with the local community throughout the weekend, using recycled materials a vibrant and colourful installation was created. Despite the very showery weather there was enthusiastic participation from young and old alike and the following photographs give a flavour of the two days.
One of our tunnels complete with tracks made by lots of little feet
Part of the colourful installation including one of the tunnels
Lucinda Jacob had a piece on show at Visual during Eigse, Carlow’s Arts Festival earlier this summer.
‘Wild Rose’ by Lucinda Jacob