In April 2019 I attened a GANS meeting on behalf of Feltmakes Ireland. Little did I realise the surprise, the challenge and the opportunity that this meeting would afford me.

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Eddie Shanahan, chair and Heidi Higgins, secretary of CIFD (Council of Irish Fashion Designers) and our own Mary Whelan of GANS (Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies) welcomed us to the meeting. Carmen Garcia and I represented Feltmakers Ireland. As a new member to the FI committee, I am frequently being surprised by the number and variety of initiatives being explored and of which I’m totally unaware. At my first GANS meeting I saw the work that is being done linking archaeology and craft and the efforts to archive craft work.

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This meeting was to introduce a collaboration project between designers and craftspeople, an initiative begun last year under the auspices “Brand Ireland” and culminating in a very successful Fashion Show in the RDS covered widely by media and viewed by hundreds at the 2018 Knit and Stitch show.

The project’s purpose is to allow a partnership of designers and craftspeople to “explore, learn and innovate” as they produce a high quality piece of work that brings “the best of the past to make the best for the future”. Almost like the World Cup draw, names were drawn from two bowls (craft/design) and partners were introduced to each other to share information and contact details. Some people had portfolios and work pieces, others had web or instagram pages to illustrate their work. As a newbie to this type of proceeding I had brought nothing, and even though I admitted to being merely a “hobbyist” my partner ( a milliner)seemed to think we could work together and come up with a prototype that we can discuss and maybe change.

After the meeting, Carmen and I agreed that although we were totally unprepared, it is very exciting to be involved in the initiative and hope to fulfil the brief: to come up with a quality product that will appeal to people whether interested in heritage or fashion, that will be a worthy and distinctive version of our work with our design partner.


Author: Breda Fay

I'm retired since end August 2016 and loving the new life! More time now for family and friends and to explore craft, history, travel and certainly more of a chance for, me-time. To paraphrase Seuss: I've no tears that (teaching) is over; but many smiles that it happened!

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