1913 Lockout Tapestry

My stitched panel of Larkin's arrest is currently on show at Pearse Street Library in Dublin from February 17th until March 28th 2015.

I first heard the plans for the 1913 Lockout Tapestry project at the Hugh Lane Gallery in October 2012.    The artists Robert Ballagh & Cathy Henderson spoke with great enthusiasm regarding this ambitious visual arts project to commemorate the centenary of the 1913 Lockout.  With two months to 2013 it was going to be quite a challenge and I was determined to be involved.  

With the help of fellow Abbey Theatre colleagues from the production, wardrobe and props departments we were assigned the panel dipicting Larkin's arrest.    It took the best part of a year to complete and was unveiled at Liberty Hall (SIPTU) by the President of Ireland Mr Michael Higgins in August 2013.

Eimear Murphy (Head of Abby Theatre Props Dept.) has also written about her experience on this project - click here.  

The tapestry tells the story of the clash of forces between labour and capital in the fight for union recognition and the right to collective bargaining resulting in 100,000 people facing starvation at end of 1913.

One in four Dublin families were affected by the  Lockout and I had a personal connection to this story.  My Great Grandparents worked in Jacobs Biscuit factory during this period.   Agnes Beckley and James Joseph Ross were both Union Workers and married in December 1912.   Jacobs presented them both with a gift of a wedding cake and nine months later their first baby Charles Ross arrived on Sunday 31 August 1913.   He was nicknamed “Charlie” (the honeymoon baby).   Twenty-four hours after his birth the Jacob’s Lockout commenced.   

For the next six months 909 men and 306 women never returned to work at the Jacobs factory.   With one income down and another mouth to feed this would have been harsh times for my Great- Great-Grandparents and a very cold and hungry winter lay ahead of them.   

To date this 30 panel tapestry has been exhibited at The National History & Decorative Arts Museum, Liberty Hall,  National College of Art & Design, The National Abbey Theatre, and several other Community and Art Galleries around the country.  I am delighted to have played a role in this project and hopefully the story of the 1913 Lockout, and all the brave men, women and children involved including my Great Grandparents will reach new audiences for many more years to come.  

Click for video of President Michael D Higgins unveiling the Tapestry at Liberty Hall August 1913





President Higgins said that the 1913 Lockout centenary had a special place in the decade of upcoming anniversaries of seminal events in Irish history.

“In this case, the conflict was not with a dominant colonial power with whom we had shared a troubled history. The perceived enemy was within. The 1913 Lockout has a different emphasis to other upcoming centenaries in that it was primarily a class based struggle between labour and capitalism.”

Does this strike a chord 100 years later?   Anyone??

Australian Commission

My first wedding commission was for a gorgeous Sydney based couple who married in New Zealand earlier this month.   I first met the bride to be last summer when she visited my studio in Dublin.   Kat  Stanley is an amazing photographer and was on a brief trip to Ireland to shoot a friend’s wedding. 

On her return to Sydney I was delighted to hear from Kat who wanted to commission a portrait of herself and her husband to be.   He has the most amazing big beard and I just know it was going to be a fun project to work on.  Especially when  I learnt that her influence for this piece was inspired by the artist Joel Moore aka Mulga.   

Find out more about this colourful Artist on his Facebook page .

Kat had some very strong creative ideas and we worked closely together via Skype  to finalise the brief.  She emailed some photographs and I listened carefully to exactly what she wanted before the first sampling and sketches were made.   Due to time zones and other work commitments it took the best part of a month to complete and I enjoyed every minute of it.

After Kat's approved the final piece made it's way to her home in Australia.   She presented the picture to her husband on the morning of their wedding and thankfully he was very happy with the result!   

Showcase Ireland 2015

It’s been a very busy January for me.  This year kick started with preparations for my first exhibition at Showcase,  I became a member of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and had my first interview with a national newspaper - The Sunday Times.

Showcase was an amazing experience.  It was one big learning curve and a wonderful opportunity to meet so many shop owners and buyers from around the world.   A big thank you to the Dublin City LEO office and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland for being so supportive.   They really gave me the push I needed and I'm very grateful for that. 

Here is some information that they posted about me and the Enterprise Zone

Thanks also to all the very talented Irish designers who visited my stand and in particular those who offered support, kind words and advice.  Especially my neighbours in the Enterprise Zone; Mairead DeBlaca Jewellery, Aoife Harrison Design, Barry Doyle Design JewellersNiki Collier Design and Ula Design.  

Looking forward to meeting you again very soon. 


Source: http://www.paula-byrne.com/blog/2015/1/30/...

Amsterdam Designer Market

In early December I spent a few days in Amsterdam with my daughter Skye.   The main purpose of our visit was to visit the Anne Frank museum but it was also a good excuse to check out local designers at what is know as “the Sunday Market”.   It’s a Craft market in the suburbs of Amsterdam where we met some very talented Dutch makers.

Among my favourites were textile designer Cindysign who sold me a fabulous throw and the cutest bunny ever for my cousin’s new born and stylist Mevrouw Aardbei 

Mumami was another favourite.  A Bosnian textile designer based full time in Holland and coordinates a group of Bosnian women that spin & hand dye their own yarns.   All of her products are hand made and would make ideal children’s gift.  The group’s motto is “handmade by Bosnian women for a happy life”.   I would recommend a visit to their website store to keep this craft organisation going.   

I really enjoyed chatting to Artist Elles Middeljans and just love her screen-printed drawings.   Elles draws cities and urban landscapes bringing them to life with bright bold colour.   I bought a beautiful piece of her work featuring a row of historic Amsterdam buildings along the canal.   This now takes pride and place on my kitchen wall reminding me everyday of my wonderful trip to Amsterdam.