Folk Fiction - Translations in Material Cultures is a multimedia exhibition by visual artist Gareth Kennedy which is currently running in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo. The exhibition features film, photographs, and objects created over the past two years with the residents of Inís Oírr, on the Aran Islands, and Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry.
The exhibition, which continues until Sunday April 14, highlights material cultures both traditional and contemporary, exploring ideas around craft and social values, landscape, and invented traditions.
Since the exhibition opened in February, Gareth Kennedy has been working on a collaborative project in the Museum of Country Life with the Castlebar Men’s Shed and Mayo Arts Squad. The group have been using a series of objects from Swedish multinational IKEA as raw material to explore two traditional folk crafts – wood crafting and wool spinning. Objects from the museum collection relating to these two crafts are being copied using IKEA furniture as the base material.
Having toured the museum archives with museum curator, Rosa Meehan, the group are replicating a carpenter’s shave horse and a great wheel (a spinning wheel specific to the west of Ireland ). These objects will be patterned onto IKEA furniture pieces from which the objects will be crafted by cutting, shaving, whittling, and chiselling. Finally wool from an IKEA sheep skin rug will be spun on the great wheel, and a ball of spun wool, ready to knit with, will be the final product. The outcomes of this interesting collaboration, along with a short film work of their production will be launched in the Museum of Country Life on April 6 2013, from 2pm-4pm.