Embroidery in the Expanded Field: Textile Narratives in Irish Art post-1968


This thesis investigates embroidery / textile art in Ireland from the 1960s to the present day. It does so by drawing on the knowledge and experience of artists, makers and educators as a source of primary data collected through interviews. The research questions how textile art emerged in Ireland, what structures and influences shaped its development and in what ways it is still relevant.
It also questions if textile art in Ireland reflects specific cultural and regional identities and examines the relationship between contemporary textile art and the continuum of textile history.  The project interrogates issues such as art and craft; specialist and generic skills; ways of being a practitioner; circumstances of making; placement and curatorship of work and the role that textile practices play in society. The inclusivity of the project is broad, encompassing amateur and professional practices, the use of textiles in art, textiles as an art practice and textile arts and crafts in the community. The research establishes a body of knowledge that can be used as an entry point and resource for future researchers, it constructs a context for the understanding of textile arts in Irish society and art in a textile culture.

The full text including more than 200 images is available on-line and the interview transcripts will be archived at the UU Library (Belfast), NIVAL (Dublin) and NMNI (Cultra).

To download the PhD click here 'Download PDF file' (44MB)


Karen Nickell (2015) “Troubles Textiles”: Textile Responses to the Conflict in Northern Ireland, TEXTILE: Journal of Cloth and Culture, 13:3, 234-251 (abstract)

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© Karen Nickell 2012