Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Stamps

Earlier this year I was asked by An Post to photograph five items to celebrate Irish Craft for the 2011 year of craft.This was my second time to have my photographs feature on an Irish Stamps collection. Photography for stamps brings its own problems mostly about how to make an image work thats is going to be as small as a stamp.The choice of object is so important, lighting for texture, keeping a consistent sense of style and preserving the detail in different kinds of materials.
By photographing them in the studio we had plenty of time to get these details right.

This set of stamps feature five outstanding contemporary craft makers. Deirdre McLoughlin, from Dublin, uses ceramics in her work, while Róisín de Buitléar, also from Dublin, works with glass. Inga Reed makes jewellery in Co Kilkenny and Dr Helen McAllister works with embroidered textiles in Dublin. The fifth craft worker is Liam Flynn, from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, an outstanding wood turner.
Contemporary Irish Craft
Irish craftspeople today produce innovative, contemporary work using traditional, sometimes ancient skills.  Craft covers everything from woodturning and basket making to blacksmithing and stained glass making.  It is estimated that almost 5000 people are employed in craft, making the sector a significant contributor to the Irish economy.
In recent years Ireland has achieved a reputation as a world-class source of contemporary fine craft. Irish craft makers have participated at international shows such as the biennial LOOT, held at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) in Chicago and more recently Collect in London, putting contemporary Irish craft on the international stage.
Background on Craft Makers
Glass - Roisin de Buitléar Dublin’s Róisín de Buitléar draws inspiration from her cultural heritage in her blown and cast glass creations that she’s been making for almost 30 years. Her work can be seen in public and private buildings throughout Ireland.

Wood - Liam Flynn Liam Flynn  has been making wood vessels in his studio at Abbeyfeale, County
Limerick, for the past 25 years.  Flynn was the winner of the inaugural Crafts Council of Ireland Irish Craft Bursary in 2005. His work is featured in numerous private and public collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the Woodturning Centre, Philadelphia and the Department of Foreign Affairs Collection, Dublin.

Metal - Inga Reed
Inga Reed has been making jewellery since the late 1970s, recently in County Kilkenny, where she makes her distinctive pieces in her rural studio. She uses classic goldsmithing techniques, combining precious metals and precious and semi-precious stones. It is the intricate organic engineering that underpins the structure of collected items like seed pods and leaves and the patterns and textures they create. Her work is featured in many private and public collections including the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.
Textiles – Dr Helen McAllisterDesigner Helen McAllister has an MA in embroidered textiles and is head of fashion and design at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She was the winner of the inaugural Golden Fleece award in 2002. Her work has moved from 2D image based hangings to 3D form making.

Ceramics - Deirdre McLoughlin The work of philosophy and history graduate Deirdre McLoughlin shapes space. It has been described as biomorphic, abstract and sculptural. She was awarded the Westerwaldpreis, outstanding ceramic art and craft work in the framework of a competition, in 2004 and showed at the 4th World Ceramic Bienalle in Korea in 2004.

The Year of Craft
Year of Craft is being celebrated through a diverse range of dynamic events to showcase the very best of craft made on the island of Ireland. The programme of events includes everything from exhibitions and open studios to lectures and workshops for craft enthusiasts of all ages.
Stamp photography Mike O'Toole

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