DE BUITLEAR, BETWEEN ART AND INDUSTRY, NATIONAL CRAFT GALLERY
Between Art and Industry offers an opportunity to explore the
shifting relationships between craft and industry through the use of
evocative imagery utilising text, film and sound. With the advent of
globalisation, methods of manufacturing have shifted dramatically.
Outsourcing of labour to other countries has resulted in decline of
industrial manufacturing in Ireland and the UK. This exhibition (curated
by Ann Mulrooney) reflects on those trends, on their consequences and
costs, and on the potential for sustainable, highly skilled small-scale
production to offer a new model.
de Buitléar has a long association with Waterford Crystal, since her
student days at NCAD. As a glass artist, she organised many
collaborations with the factory, forming personal relationships with
some of the 4000 workers, blowers, cutters, engravers and sculptors
employed there. In 2009, with the help of the Crafts Council of Ireland
Irish Craft Bursary, de Buitléar began investigating the history of
Irish glass, and recorded oral histories of the factory workers. During
this period, Waterford Crystal went into receivership and the contents
of the KIlbarry plant were sold, a process Buitléar documented
photographically during the open viewing.
In a collaborative process that is also an important part of the
work, all of the pieces for this exhibition have been made by hand in
Waterford at Irish Handmade Glass, a small workshop established after
the closure of the Kilbarry plant by four master glassmakers who
originally trained in Waterford Crystal. This work is about the
celebration of skill that still exists in the country, and not a lament
for its loss.
exhibition opens on 25th May at 6:30pm and runs until 4th July 2012 at
the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny. Between Art and Industry is a
co-production with the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown, where
it will show from 4 August – 29 September 2012.