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Celebrate Colour (in paint and stitch) - an exhibition by Kate Hennessy will run from 5th - 30th October. 

Born in Limerick, Kate studied and taught art in Limerick, Dublin and Kilkenny while painting all the while. She has held over 30 solo shows, showing at both the Belltable and the Hunt Museum, Limerick, Davis Gallery, Dublin, the Source, Thurles and the Lavitt Gallery, Cork as well as the Air Gallery, London. 

Aside from solo exhibitions Kate has also taken part in numerous group shows, exhibiting at the R.H.A., Sligo Small Works, the Oireachtas and Limerick City Gallery and her paintings are included in several public and private collections in the city of Limerick including the University of Limerick, Limerick City Gallery, Mary Immaculate College and Ulster Bank.


The dictionary defines ART as ‘a work produced by the conscious use of skill and the creative imagination’. CRAFT  ‘skill or ability in something, especially in handwork of the arts ,proficiency, expertness.

In my view, that means that patchwork and quilting deserve the same appreciation that we currently give to painting.  The only difference is that one uses threads and fabric, the other liquid colour mixed with oil or water.

However,  because  the former is done largely ( but not exclusively ) by women, it is not appreciated as being of equal value to painting, which was in the past largely done by men,  but well known art galleries, have an unconscious bias and many admit that the number of works by women is only a small percentage of the total.  Gender and racial equality still has a long way to go.  The history of both was practical,  in the case of quilting,  the pieces softened the harsh cold metal of suits of armour, seen in the Knights of Europe and the  metal uniforms of ancient Chin and Japan.  Painting may also have been used to glorify the  gods,  kings ,queens and princes,  or just  to decorate homes and objects. 

They both share the  same elements , colour,  line, texture, space, and like painting, textile work can express any idea the maker wishes, whether political, environmental, beautiful, thought-provoking .  Because of this, I strongly believe that galleries in Ireland (especially public funded ones)  should be open to displaying major shows of textile work.  I wish the Arts Council would fund such large shows as the annual one  in  the Art College Limerick,  and house it in the City Gallery for at least one month,  and advertise this widely.  I know there would be much public interest in this.  Male art critics also should be open minded, not like the one who  once dismissed a piece of mine as ‘craft class stuff’.

To conclude,  I believe there is art in craft and craft in art.  I appeal to the art establishment to be open in their judgement and appreciation of both ways of communicating visually,  and I urge them to consider the great strides made in relation to the exhibiting of Fibre Art in the museums of America today.

 Kate Hennessy      Mid-West Branch   I.P.S.