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Leinster Print Studio, Co. Kildare, Ireland

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Le Chéile: a Welsh-Irish Collaborative Project – Communication Through Printmaking

This collaboration was initiated in August 2004 when Steffan Jones-Hughes visited Ireland on a CCAT Interreg Go and See grant. He met with Margaret Becker and they talked about the potential for some sort of print exchange. In October 2006 discussions were followed by exchange visits between artists from the Regional Print Centre, Wales, and the Leinster Printmaking Studio, Clane, Co. Kildare. The co-ordinators for the project were Alison Craig and Monica de Bath.

The seed for this project lay with John Berger’s account of his communication through drawing with Marisa Camino. They found the lack of a common (verbal) language an advantage. Twinning with a Welsh partner we began a similar dialogue, where some of us have tried to communicate only through the image, Irish or Welsh. But knowing a common language has made it difficult to silence that particular voice. Themes of land, language and place emerged as a starting point for a visual dialogue. From there, working prints, drawings, collages and emails have travelled back and forth with each artist responding to work sent by his/her counterpart.

Artists have found that the experience has led to innovative developments in printmaking and in other areas of their creative work.

Funding and Curatorial Support

The project has received some funding from Wales Art International and CCAT Interreg. Both groups have had curatorial support; on the Irish side Geraldine O Reilly, member of Aosdana and on the Welsh side Steffan Jones- Hughes, artist and co-ordinator of the Regional Print Centre.

Also complementing this project has been a series of photo-etch tutorials led by Belfast artist Jill Mc Keown at LPS, and a series of impromptu workshops exploring the themes led by Alison Craig, Terry Mart, Eirian Llwyd, Linda Davies and Steffan Jones-Hughes at RPC.

Exhibitions Too

In May 2008 a three-week exhibition was held at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, which showcased work in progress from this exciting collaboration. Some of the Welsh group travelled over for this event.  A promotional publication was also launched at the exhibition.

Exhibitions to show the completed work from this project will take place at The Graphic Studio, Dublin, the Lucy Tormey Studio and Gallery, Mullingar in 2009. Other venues have been proposed in Ireland and Wales.

One of the Welsh artists, Veronica Calarco. approached Rob Johnson of Countryarts SA to include the ‘Le Chéile’ collaboration as part of their outback touring exhibition which will begin to tour in mid-2009. Following a submission by Veronica the project has been selected as their international component. The exhibition will run for 18 months and there will be lots of openings all over South Australia. It is hoped to have it open in Adelaide in December 09 as part of Celtica. There has also been an offer of residencies, yet to be confirmed.  The organisers have sent out information to potential galleries for the exhibition and will know soon what venues the project will be showing in. The Newland Gallery has already been confirmed for December 09. The Newland Gallery is 3km from Veronica’s base in Peterhead, South Australia, in the Country Arts building.

Thanks to Veronica in Australia

Veronica has been wonderful at organising the Australian side of things and also got us invited to participate in this years Celtica Festival. Four artists from Ireland are participating, Eileen Keane, Rebecca Humphrey, Deirdre Shanley and Pamela de Brí. while Alison Craig and Andrew Smith are the Welsh artists who are participating.


Also ongoing in the studio are preparations for an exhibition taking ‘the bog’ as its theme. This will be curated by printmaker and lecturer Peter Jones and will open in the new Arts Centre in Tallaght in March 2009. There have been several research outings to the Bog of Allen already.

More on the Leinster Print Studio

The Leinster Print Studio, (L.P.S.)‘s most recent travelling exhibitions include ‘Where Siva meets Medb’, whose theme explored the literary writings and mythological legends of both Ireland and India. An exhibition was also held in April 2006 in the Crow Gallery, Dublin.

The L.P.S. is dedicated to providing a professional working environment and studio facilities to printmakers by promoting excellence in practice and skills development in conjunction with continuous learning and outreach programs. It is a ‘safe’ or ‘green’ studio which means that, whenever possible, members strive to use safe and non-toxic materials. There are five presses of varying sizes, a drying press, plenty of storage space and a small library. L.P.S. is also a member of ‘Studio Network’. The studio offers facilities for producing prints by intaglio, (etching and drypoint), aquatint, and carborundum. Recently photo-etching facilities have been installed, with a darkroom and an exposure unit. There is a plan to have silkscreen facilities set up soon.

In the last year the studio has been running a variety of workshops. Paula Gleeson gave a workshop in safe etching, while Carmel Benson gave one in carborundum and Val Hennigan demonstrated and tutored in linocut. During the year Jill McKeown, from Seacourt Printmakers in Bangor gave a series of workshops in photo etch and trained a number of the studio members in this process. They, in turn, give classes, workshops and regularly participate in Outreach and education programmes.

Following a successful sojourn at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry in 2006 members have been invited to return in the future.

For further details contact studio manager, Margaret Becker at www.leinsterprintstudio.com or at 086- 3558365.

Leinster Print Studio
Clane
County Kildare
Ireland

The Leinster Print Studio, an update by Pamela de Brí

Written by Michael Booth

July 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm

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