I have been working with Jen Cooper since we were officially paired around mid February. This so far has been an interesting collaboration as we have never met. Jen lives in Australia and I live in Ireland. At first I wondered how this could possibly work as I’m more of a ‘communicate face to face’ type of person.
To begin Jen emailed me her personal theories and ideas about the project which I must admit left me a little confused. However after a few back and forth emails and questions about specific words, things became a little clearer. The more I read, the more I began to understand. I did this however by interpreting her words so that they made sense inside my head. As an artist I always need to have a clear visualisation in order for me to gain any meaning. I wondered if this was the ‘right’ thing to do? Leaving things open to interpretation can often result in missing the point but then I also started to feel that if this project was going to have any large scale impact, the individual should have the freedom to take or reject whatever they feel is necessary.
Jen spoke about ‘The Human Equilibrium’ and how this human impact would affect the environment’s ability to adapt to change. As a result of this the ecosystems we rely on are changing rapidly. I began to think about this in relation to my lacework. Lace can only be constructed using specific systems or techniques. These techniques were developed many centuries ago. In fact it is argued that fishing nets were the first examples of lacework and it was the fishermen who passed the technique to the lacemakers who re-created it in minute detail. These techniques are currently in danger of becoming obsolete. There are currently about 6 lacemakers, including myself practicing Kenmare Lace- a regional needlepoint technique from Southwest Ireland. It seems fitting that I should be exploring ideas regarding marine ecosystems using a process which derived from the creation of fishermens’ nets! I began to think about patterns for lace ecosystems….here’s what I came up with so far….
By Fiona Harrington