Meet the Maker- Maria Mc Garry

Maria McGarry- Feltmaker

Maria entered her piece to the “Endangered exhition” entitled-‘Marsh Fritillary Butterfly’. In our series of interviews with the makers we asked Maria questions about her piece and her textile practice.

How does your entry to the ” Endangered Exhibition” respond to the title?

 The ‘Marsh Fritillary Butterfly’ (Euphydryas aurinia or as gaeilge, Fritilean Reisc) feeds on the ‘Devil’s Bit Scabious, Sussisa pratenis, flower’. The marsh fritillary is one of Irelands few legally protected butterflies under Annex ll of the European Union Habitats and Species Directive. The species relies on the Devils bit Scabious to lay their eggs, but the habitat for this plant is declining because of farming intensification, urban development, and monoculture forestation of traditional bog lands. I was inspired by a train conversation with Dr Ken Bond, UCC who has spent many years monitoring and protecting this species.

Crafting through the current crisis.

Looking back, I have been busy during lockdown. I completed my Art Textile Level 8 course at Crawford College Cork with my piece #ONE WORLD, which charts the spread of Covid 19 on a felt population density map of the world (up to 25/5/2020). This was part of a virtual exhibition ‘EMERGING’ at The Gallery 46 Grand Parade, Cork.

#ONE WORLD was taken from the Director-General of the W.H. O’s speech on 15/04/2020, as he voiced his major concerns about the viral spread in poor countries especially Africa. That was also the day that the U.S.A President decided to stop funding to the W.H.O. 2 million accumulated cases were reported worldwide that day and over 10,000 deaths in New York.

Detail of felt, Covid19 Clusters and viral spread up to 05/05/2020

COVID 19 sent the world into lockdown in March 2020. Something invisible could affect so many people on a global scale.  A world without borders! I wondered how I could visually represent the spread of this virus on the world map. I was inspired Renna Saini Kallat’s Woven Chronicle, 2011 which is a world interconnected that ‘with Globalisation, the privilege of free movement for some means forced displacement and migration for millions of others.’

I had another piece # TICK TOCK ( the cogs of climate change)  on exhibition at The Gallery ,46 Grand Parade for the ‘HAND’ exhibition, March 2020 ( a collaboration of Crawford College, textile students and UCC  drama students). This exhibition remained in place during lockdown.

My triptych, screen printed Nuno felted and embroidered piece, #FAKE NEWS is part of the Irish Guild of Embroiders 2020 exhibition at the Lexicon, Dunlaoighre

How I discovered felt and what it means to me.

In 2010 I saw an advert for the Basics and Beyond Feltmakers Ireland workshop in Lucan and am hooked ever since. I have met so many likeminded and lovely people. I have enjoyed the Sunday sessions at the Knockmaroon Gate in the Phoenix Park, and workshops given by other members of Feltmakers Ireland. I have taken part in incredible masterclass workshops with Gabrielle Kovacs from Hungary, Nancy Ballesteros from Australia, and last year with Leiko Uchiyama.

Inspired by all the exceptionally talented friends I have met through Feltmakers Ireland, I completed my Certificate in Visual arts in NCAD IN 2018 and have now finished Art Textile in Crawford College Cork. I am passionate about textile art and making. Feltmaking is my meditative space, because the art is in the consistency and gentleness of the laying and manipulation of the fibres. This cannot be forced or rushed and does require experience and practice. I love Nuno feltmaking and the lustre of combining silk with merino wool.

Because of lockdown I have a full house working from home so my feltmaking is on hold as   my kitchen table had to be cleared. I have lots of ideas brewing and cannot wait to get back at it. Thank you Feltmakers Ireland for all the inspiration, joy and friendships over the last 10 years.