The Shuttle Hive. Alison Conneely

‘The Shuttle Hive: A Century of Rising Threads’ created by Alison Conneely and commissioned by the National Museum of Ireland is a collection of six themed garment panels – reflecting themes from rebellion and resistance to family and domestic life – each consisting of three items of clothing. The panels are inspired by the various roles played by women during this war-time period: as rebels; spies; uniform makers; nurses; messengers; symbols of old Ireland; and revolution directors. Alison’s vision is of a ‘tapestry of values’, and she has used fabrics that evoke both rebellion and modernity, with an ultimate dream of evoking a new myth that is both complex and clean cut.
Working in collaboration with Alison I created ‘The Marching Queens’ panel for the exhibition which looks in particular at the uniform. To portray an utterly modern dream I used three types of leather: stretch leather; fine lightweight Japanese leather which I hand dyed; and Vachetta leather. The resulting pieces were shaped and assembled using modern techniques combined with the ancient skills of the craft worker and show the multifaceted nature of leather.