Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Textile Details

'Our Island Apart', by Ladies who sew (Rathlin Island).  (Photo: Gabriela Dossow)
'Our Island Apart', by Ladies who sew (Rathlin Island). (Photo: Gabriela Dossow)


Title of Textile:Our Island Apart
Maker: Ladies who sew (Rathlin Island)
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
Year Produced: 2016
Size (cm): 62cm (w) X 185cm (l)
Materials: Mixed textiles, buttons, feathers, thread, etc.
Type of Textile: Wall hanging comprised of four arpilleras

For generations most of the sewing experience of Rathlins’ women had been a ‘make do and mend’, or managing of necessity. Just over 20 years ago a new sewing experience began. Jane Wysner, a long time visitor to Rathlin, invited a group of Island women to stitch together their stories of Island life. Images from their conversations were transformed into a beautiful 16 panel quilt.

In 2010, a group of Rathlin women, prompted by Lily Rose Anderson from the original group, gathered again to continue the story. Supported by Roberta Bacic they created a number of new panels in arpillera style, using new methods to thread new stories, linking Rathlin to other communities around the world.

David Quinney Mee, community development worker on Rathlin, in describing this new piece, speaks of the unique identity of Rathlin and its’ people, a place of outstanding beauty, shaped by the sea which is: “a separator that offers additional peace and tranquillity; a bridge used for thousands of years… between ourselves, the mainland, the Scottish islands and beyond … a source of food and well-being, of mystery and wonder; … greater than us all.”

Unsurprisingly, shaped by such powerful forces, Rathlin offers, in Davids’ words: “a welcome home for those who find their way here… and a place that is at its best when defined more by its surrounding sea than by any limited ideology or creed. A place apart, yet always a part of the whole.”

Owner: Ladies who sew, Rathlin Island Community collection
Location: Rathlin Island, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Gabriela Dossow

Textile exhibited at: Stitched Legacies of Conflicts , 7/10/2016 - 26/11/2016

Textile Detail Image(s)