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Ireland's Waterways Inspire New Exhibition Of Art And Craft

31st October 2013
Ireland's Waterways Inspire New Exhibition Of Art And Craft

#Waterways - ‘Water Land’, a free exhibition of sculpture and crafted objects by some of Ireland’s top artists and crafts people, will take place from 6-30 November 2013 in the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre on the waters of Dublin’s Grand Canal Basin.

This exhibition brings together the heritage of the inland waterways with new work by contemporary artists and craft makers.

Curated by Sarah Ross, 'Water Land' will feature a selection of Ireland’s most well-known and recognised artists and crafts people, those resident in the Design Tower on Pearse Street, together with makers invited from across Ireland and abroad.

The Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre is a beautiful light filled space, with a sensation of floating on water it provides an excellent environment for displaying works of art and craft inspired by water.

The Design Tower, meanwhile, is located on the bank of the canal basin beside the Visitor Centre. Originally built in 1878 as a sugar refinery, it has been a creative hub of craft makers and artists for the last 30 years.

Throughout ‘Water Land’, the theme of water is broad and wide-ranging. Water helps anchor our history and our culture, and influences our architecture. As a valuable resource it is ever-present in our lives and is integral to our future. As an island country, we are never far from the presence of a water's edge, but at the same time we can be divided by its very presence.

The artists and makers use their experience with these themes for their inspiration in developing work in their individual media, whether that is precious metals, wood, clay, paper, glass and mixed media.

Among others, the exhibition will feature renowned jewellery designer Alan Ardiff, who reminds us of the recent summer heat wave with his diving bronze figure inspired by the daredevil swimmers in Grand Canal Basin.

Similarly, artist and sculptor Elizabeth O’Kane and bespoke jewellery designers Da Capo have produced exquisite work inspired by the movement and fluidity of water.

Referencing values associated with the use of water are fashion designer Róisín Gartland, whose work references the abuses in the fashion industry for the sake of western beauty, and adornment and ceramic artist Henry Pim, who reminds us of the depletion of water as a resource.

Despite the geographic divide between Connemara-based basketmaker Joe Hogan and the home of Swedish textile designer Liz Nilsson, both makers' work is inspired by the natural materials sourced from the waters edge.

This is further complemented by a series of sculptural forms created by Kildare’s internationally renowned woodturner Emmet Kane from reclaimed canal gates made from the hardwood called ekki.

Waterways Ireland, one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the British Irish Agreement in 1999, has responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes.

Due to both its historical significance and current value the element of water was seen as a very relevant theme to promote the work of over 20 artists and makers at the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre.

‘Water Land’ is supported by Waterways Ireland and further funded by the Crafts Council of Ireland. Exhibition opening times for visitors are from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm, and entry is free of charge.

For more information on the exhibition visit and for more information on makers in the Design Tower visit

Published in Inland Waterways
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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