New sculpture for Headford in metal and lace


Creation of the framework of the sculpture.

A NEW lace sculpture celebrating the lace revival in Headford will be installed in St. George’s Square, Headford, starting Friday November 12 and running for several days.

Commissioned by Headford Lace Project (HLP), “Lace Matrix” by Róisín de Buitléar is funded by Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture as part of their Small Towns, Big Ideas (STBI) program.

Like the young lace makers of Headford in the 1840s, the giant piece of lace will be made using bobbin lace techniques with 2 km of cord. It is estimated that it will take three to five days for the HLP community members and the artist to complete using a platform to allow access to the two-meter-high frame and this will be the first such project. in Ireland.

HLP was delighted to receive funding from the STBI program of Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture in 2018. The proposed project was the creation of a permanent public artwork for Headford that celebrated the legacy of bobbin lace in the city. After a submission process, Róisín de Buitléar was selected.

Eilís Nic Dhonncha, President of HLP, said: “In addition to Róisín’s impressive artistic record, HLP was particularly excited about the central role that creative consultation with the community played in its proposal. Rather than coming to the committee with a product, she suggested a collaborative process. She offered to work with different groups in the community to develop design ideas for contemporary responses to the Headford Lace pattern, in the context of STBI.

“This process began in the spring of 2019 with a series of creative workshops around lace and place making that took place in Headford.”

The sculpture is designed to be interactive, community-led, and to have an impact on the city and its identity.

The artwork is made up of two symmetrical shapes, which together create a large heart shape in which a lace pattern is threaded. The shape of the heart is derived from a lace sample made by the local lace-making community, based on the first lace sample discovered attributed to Headford’s nearly lost lace history.

Drawing inspiration from ideas from the vernacular agricultural hardware store and keen to employ a local manufacturer, Róisín worked with local blacksmiths Pat Monaghan and Simon Harte of Forge Metalworks in Caherlistrane to create the frame. The metal loops surrounding the frame echo the picot edging found on the lace edging and will serve to hold the intricate lace patterns together.

On Friday, local lace makers will begin making a matrix of flowers, diamonds, and a honeycomb pattern, known as the floor cloth.

The sculpture was created so that the lace could be replaced with a design from a different group or by a different lace artist from anywhere in the world. That way the installation, rather than being the end of a process, is just the start of a whole new project that will last for many years to come.

The sculpture, while permanent, will constantly change and evolve, providing a landmark and focal point in the heart of Headford.


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