Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Textile Details

'Continuum', by Eilleen Harrisson. (Photo: Eileen Harrisson)
'Continuum', by Eilleen Harrisson. (Photo: Eileen Harrisson)


Title of Textile:Continuum
Maker: Eileen Harrisson
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2014
Size (cm): 100cm (width) x 99 cm (length)
Materials: Unbleached linen; transparent organza; calico; silk, cotton and linen threads; mirror shards; dried flower petals; Japanese tissue paper; artists' oil sketching paper; oil and acrylic paints; inks; beads; copper wire
Type of Textile: Wall hanging

In this piece, Eileen graphically portrays images from her experience of living and working in Belfast, some of this time as a nurse, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland from the mid 1970s to early 1980s.

The title 'Continuum', while focusing on the Troubles, reflects Eileen's familial connections with the two World Wars and her sorrow at the continuing suffering conflict wreaks on society. Among its appliquéd images, the repeated figure of a crying child expresses the terror inflicted mercilessly on even the very young.

This Continuum, she believes, spans not only past to present but extends into the future on a global level. " . . . Though not perfect, Ulster has obtained a longed-for level of peace and reconciliation . . . but conflict has transferred elsewhere in a continuum; like a contagion, terrorism threatens peoples everywhere." Her response as an artist "in the face of hatred and lack of compassion, is [to] speak of love, in stitch, word and music."

Eileen expresses herself in stitch, in part stemming from her family background but also because of its close relationship with all of us: “we wear clothing daily, are wrapped in blankets on birth and, in death, are clothed for burial.” As an artist working with textiles, this connection goes deeper: “The rhythmic act of hand stitch…touches something in my soul…I also feel that stitch is a metaphor for damage and healing; the needle punctures the cloth in a violent act but the network of stitched threads heals the injured surface, making it whole again.”

A poem composed by Eileen, which accompanies the piece when exhibited, facilitates further reflection on the myriad of issues encompassed in 'Continuum'.

Owner: Eileen Harrisson collection
Location: c/o Rosina Doherty-Allan, Library, Derry~Londonderry campus, UU
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Eileen Harrisson
Provenance: Donation from Eileen Harrisson - 2024

Textile exhibited at: Stitched Legacies of Conflicts , 7/10/2016 - 26/11/2016
Stitched Voices / Lleisiau wedi eu Pwytho, 25/03/2017 - 13/05/2017
Conflict Textiles: Library, Derry~Londonderry campus, 23/05/2024 - 31/01/2025

Textile Detail Image(s)