Le Chéile: A Welsh Irish Print Collaboration
Artists from the Regional Print Centre, Wrexham and Leinster Print Workshop, Clane.
12th March – 4th April 2009
Graphic Studio Gallery, off Cope Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
Monday-Friday 10-5.30
Saturday 11-5
00353 1 679 8021

We had a fantastic day in Dublin this week. Linda Davies and I went over to Ireland for the opening of the Le Chéile exhibition at Graphic Studio Gallery.

This is a collaborative project that came about as the consequence of an Interreg funded go see grant in 2003. The grant enabled Jeanette and I to go over to look at the possibility of developing future partnerships. I telephoned Lucina Russell, Arts Officer for Kildare, and she put us in touch with Margaret Becker of the Leinster Print Studio. The seed was sown at that meeting that we would like to develop some sort of collaborative project. The seed lay dormant for a while and then eventually shoots began to appear. Monica de Bath came over with two other printmakers and we met up in Galeri in Caernarfon to see how we might progress. It was decided that we would bring together a number of artists based in the interreg zone, who were working at the Regional Print Centre in Wrexham. Initially partnerships were put in place to get things going. Some of these worked, others fell by the wayside for one reason or another. The group applied for more funding from Wales Arts International to facilitate personal exchange between the artists and for us to go to Ireland and meet and develop more ideas. The Irish came over to the Print Studio in Wrexham and to visit two of the artists on Anglesey. The Welsh artists worked on a series of project sessions, developing the themes for the project, which Margaret and I had discussed at our initial meeting, were to be the land, the language, our connection to our surroundings, and a sense of place. Things began to fall into place. At this time we had an Australian artist in residence at the centre, Veronica Calarco. Veronica became involved, she went over to Ireland and met the Irish partners. Work began to develop and Veronica brought a new facet to the table. On her return to Australia she began to spread the word about this Celtic Project, and very soon, thanks to the support of South Australia Touring Arts Veronica had venues for our work on the other side of the world. Alison Craig applied for funding from a-n magazine here in the UK for networking and this meant that a number of Welsh artists were able to go over to Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare to participate in a work in progress type exhibition that took place last year. The project now seems to have gathered momentum and thanks to the continued collaboration of the artists will continue to be seen and develop until at least 2010. The exhibition at the Graphic Studio Gallery is excellent and I would really recommend a visit over to Dublin to see the show.

Linda and I left our respective homes at around 11.30pm and travelled through the night. We arrived at Holyhead in good time and were then rushed through departures to what can only be described as a holding room, with floodlights and four rows of red chairs. We went through to the bus that was waiting to whisk us onto the ferry. We waited…and we waited…and we waited until eventually after about half and hour we were driven on to our awaiting ferry. Only to discover that it was packed to the gills with other passengers in various states of zombieness sprawled out on every available flat or cushioned area. Arriving in Dublin at 5.55am, we had managed to get at least 5 minutes of sleep on the way over through choppy seas and too many Manchester United fans returning to Ireland.
We took a bus ride from the ferry port into the Belarus, sorry Bus Aras, bus station in the centre of Dublin. This takes about twenty minutes, which felt much longer due to the onboard entertainment of a fairly affable drunk Dubliner who seemed determined to make the entire bus smile…nervously.

Linda and I then made our way to Grafton Street for a very civilised early breakfast in Bewley’s Oriental Tearooms. This gave us time to unwind and compose ourselves for the day. When we had finished our fruit scone and spelt toast we made our way to the Luas Line tram to go up river to Heuston. From there we walked up to the MIMA/MoMI/ mumma/ IMMA. The Irish Museum of Modern Art. dsc_0225Here we saw a brilliant show by Hughie O’Donoghue, new work from the collection, a great big video projection and met up with Don and his wife, Sue. We had a coffee and a look round the bookshop. It’s so expensive in Ireland at the moment, the exchange rate Pounds to Euro, means that a cup of coffee costs £3, art magazines £7.50, postcards 90p each.

Our next stop was Temple Bar. We jumped on the Luas and made our way to the Black Church Print Studio. Catriona, the technician showed us around. It’s a fantastic studio doing Lithography, Intaglio, Screenprint, Relief and Digital media. It was set up in 1982 and it was so good to have a short guided tour of each floor of the building, finally reaching screenprint with a veranda looking out over Temple Bar four floors below. Thank you to Catriona and to all the artists who took time out to talk to us on Thursday. It would be really good to link up with some of the artists from there too to work on collaborative things. They have a great opportunity for Lithographic Printers in the form of a three week residency with accommodation. Please email for more information

Then we made our way round to the Graphic Studio, calling in at the John Duncan exhibition “Bonfires” on the way at Temple Bar Gallery.

At the Le Cheile exhibition Pamela de Brí gave a very interesting talk about the project from the Irish perspective and Liam Ó Broin spoke enchantingly about the process of printmaking. Alison Craig talked about the project from her own perspective.

The exhibition looks amazing. It is so exciting to see how it has developed. After the talks Linda and I joined a lively group of Irish Printmakers for a meal at an Italian Restaurant nearby to continue to discuss ideas and swap stories. Pamela had spoken on Irish television the previous night and it had gone well I think. Eileen was good company and I also managed to catch up with Monica. Thanks to the Irish for arranging that.

Linda and I needed to ensure we had a Guiness whilst in town so we nipped away for a swift pint in the heart of Temple Bar…God it tasted good! Before returning for the official opening at the gallery by Lucina Russell. Diane Williams had made it over with husband Maldi so it was neis I weld them. Diane came armed with this week’s copy of Golwg which has an article on the project.

Then it was a sharp dash across town for the ferry and home sweet home.
28 hours door to door!

Linda and Steffan try to get some sleep on the way home

Linda and Steffan try to get some sleep on the way home


No Responses Yet to “Ireland”

  1. Leave a Comment

What do you think? Let me know below...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: