oLast week I had a change to normal procedure as I was invited to guest host a live art event that happens on the last Wednesday of every month, here in Monaghan Town at the beautiful and historic Markethouse Venue on Park Street. Scroll Down to see more photos from the night.
I’ll tell you all about how that went in a minute but first want to tell you about the group, the Monaghan Arts Network.
Back in 2014 I was invited to a discussion along with a number of people from the local creative community to explore the possibility of an Arts event or happening of some type, as there was a tiny pocket of money from the Monaghan Community Forum available through PeaceIII, if it could be so utilised. As you can imagine the ideas were plentiful and varied, it was however universally decided that a "showcase live event" for existing, emerging and professional creative’s, would provide the broadest opportunity for the existing community across the board. It was to be run by volunteers with minimal costs and its mission was to promote the breath of talent in the county across all genres and help establish and build a sustainable arts audience within the county.
The tiny pot of funding would see us through a couple of months if we did one event a month and that was to be the end of it.
Little did we know that the town and the county was so extensively filled with talent on such a broad scale…the events have been running every month now for 5 years, by volunteers and self funded by audience donations (each month the event is free to encompass all aspects of the community – donations are accepted in lieu of any official ticket cost) and occasionally business sponsored refreshments, and every month the Monaghan Arts Officer makes available the Arts Office in the Markethouse Building, a flurry of activity sees the upper floor converted from gallery space to theatre, along with professional sound and lighting rigs and our very own professional sound engineer.
Each event sees between 4 and 5 acts of all artistic disciplines perform, test new material, give talks, do readings, dance, sing, paint and entertain an average audience of 60plus people of all ages.
For the first two years of the Monaghan Arts Network I was the founding secretary of the group, I stepped on to the stage on two separate occasions over the years to showcase my own work around the time of my solo exhibitions and additionally on occasion I also hosted the event. A couple of years in and as I was getting busier in my own practice and as alongside of that my health was suffering, alas I stepped down from the committee.
This past Wednesday night the 27th of March 2019 was the official 5th birthday of the network. Founding member, ex Chair and Monaghan Community Forum Officer at the time of inception, Dara MacGabhann, gave the audience a brief outline of the networks achievements, not only in the running of the network events themselves, but in all the additional projects that have coincided over the years including the independent production of a showcase cd called “Splitting the stones” featuring musical artists who performed for the network. A wonderful jam packed book of visual arts from showcase participants entitled “Gifts of the Mind” (in which I feature). Two plays written, produced and performed by members of the committee and friends of the network, as part of the 1916 commemoration program for the county and numerous concerts, pop up events, outdoor activities and fundraising for the local community.
I was delighted to be invited back to guest host this special 5th birthday gig and happy to cheer them on when the current successful committee cut their celebration cake during the interval.
I had the pleasure of welcoming the audience last Wednesday and announcing the line up of acts for the night, alongside of Daras great celebration presentation on behalf of the network, we were to enjoy the musical talents of wonderful songstress Amelia McCormack, Visual Artist Eimhin Farrell and the ever brilliant and rockin Bronagh McCabe.
I was delighted to play my part over the years with the development of the Monaghan Arts Network, it has developed into a stalwart cultural calling for the up and coming, and the up and came within our community and with a 5 month waiting list to perform I can only see it go from strength to strength.
If you wish to become a member of the Monaghan Arts Network committee message them directly through their fb page linked below, perhaps you're a Monaghan based creative who wishes to showcase to a local audience…again use the link below.
I enjoyed the chance to catch back up with all the gang, to throw my tuppence worth in again and to enjoy the immense talent on offer on the night as always - thanks for having me folks, see you at the next one where I shall be sitting at the back glass in hand.
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Thanks. xx N.
Today is Tuesday the 26th March, I have had the morning off, just me and the dog, to recharge the system after what can only be described as a very hectic weekend…right now I’m sitting in a little café here in Monaghan called Kingas, sipping coffee and typing whilst my youngest attends the local hall for a class…45 minutes to tell you what I’ve been up to….On Sunday I had the pleasure of teaching my “Encaustic with an Iron” introduction class to a group in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, if you follow my social media feed and particular my stories you may have seen this already.
The group called Cruthu are a west Wicklow arts group established in 2006, they base themselves in the astoundingly beautiful Russborough House courtyard where there are a small number of workshop spaces for arts and crafts workers…including Judy Heffernan with Jemglen Jewellery, Greg Long Visual Artist, Eamonn Heffernan bog oak sculptor and BeaJordanArts, amongst others.
The site is pure magic, set in a beautiful parkland and historic house with so many amenities provided, café, maze, house tours, icecream parlour, bird of prey centre, playground, 19th Century riding school, walled gardens and a wildlife habitiat to name but a few….no photos I had the time to take would do this amazing place justice….I had 20 minutes after the class to have a wee wonder about prior to the gates being shut at 6pm on this Sunday…no time to see half of what was on offer – needless to say if you find yourself touring this neck of the woods mark this spot on the map for a full days stop – its vast and simply gorgeous.
My group, and the reason I found myself at Russborough, comprised of ten participants of mixed abilities, some artists in their own rights, others not. we even had a candle maker I chatted wax with (we wax nerd-ed off on one another lol) I presented to the group a brief history of encaustic, introduced the tools, materials and equipment we would be working with for the day (all supplied by me)had a wee chat about health and safety and then we dove straight in ….starting as I do with basic colour application, in no time at all the ladies were producing botanical inspired colourful wax flowers, shaped and painted with their craft irons and they were off. The morning progressed with several versions of work created including an introduction into my 5 step landscape, we broke for lunch provided in the beautiful and cosy onsite café.
In the afternoon after a suitable amount of re-caffination, we had another walk through of the techniques applied in the morning session to re-inforce the learning. Then the participants had time to further develop their works and get creative…Iater I gave a demonstration on the creation of candle images using the iron (how could we not with a candle maker in the house) and everyone had a go before clearing up, mounting a number of works each and heading off for the evening.
We simply couldn’t believe how quickly those four hours had passed and with a little tech difficulty courtesy of my new sum-up machine finally a number of people even headed off with kits of their own to experiment and develop their skills – a delightful group to work with, I enjoyed the class immensely and would be very happy to visit with them again such was the enthusiasm for the session.
After packing up the car and preparing for the long drive home I had little time to explore the site for photographs as I mentioned before, however I do intend to revisit and really explore and when I get that chance I will share here x
Connected at the Copperhouse - an update
So last you heard from me I shared a wee process video ahead of my part in the group exhibition called Connected@thecopperhouse (through all social media channels follow #connected12 to see images and updates from the entire gambit of artists involved) the work was broad ranging, mixed media, advanced paper works, clay, encaustic, watercolour, graphic portraiture and photography and as mentioned before it was colourful, it was THANKFULLY a packed house AND it was fun….
I was ever so grateful to see a couple of familiar faces, family and friends pop in to lend their support. I landed a tidy commission I shall tell you more about another time but for now want to give a shout out to Mark at The Copperhouse Gallery for his support, Tara Prendergast from Biscuit for the support and to Monica Loughman for opening for us on the night. I especially want to thank the following artists for their comradeship and for the opportunity to show along side of ye all – a good bunch – cheers ladies x
Ana Dorado, Emma Higgins, Deborah Cogley, Karen Hickey, Isabelle Gaborit, Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova, Angela Emsen-West, Liga Valge, Rachel McDermott, Valerie Sweeney and Fran Halpin.
Hi there friends,
So those of you who follow me will know already that I am exhibiting at the gorgeous Copperhouse gallery in Dublin 8 along with 11 other award-winning & emerging artists and photographers. The breath of work at the show "Connected at the Copperhouse" is truly going to be outstanding and I do hope you can join us there from this thursday March 7th at 6pm.
Just recently I made a short timelapse video of some of my process working on some newer pieces which will have their first showing at this exhibition.
Three of these five new pieces will be shown in the copperhouse, they like much of my work started life as wax and pigment monotypes, produced using asemic markmaking on a hot matrix plate and my own mixes of pigmented wax based medium on fine Japanese kozo papers, this work was inspired by somewhat recent history namely the #metoo campaign and the #ChildishGambino song "this is america"...in this video I explain how I adhere to panel these delicate prints, despite changing my mind and removing them to reapply a layer of colour, the wax really strengthens the already wonderfully stong paper but it is still delicate and I wanted to share with you how I encapsulate the print in this gorgeous medium...I hope you enjoy a wee insight into my studio shenannigans and I hope to see you for the opening if you are free to join us. Remember ALL WELCOME.
as always xx N.
Contemporary Visual Artist working in mixed media/encaustic based in the durmlins of Co.Monaghan. Ireland.