BAABAA Irish Sheep have you any wool ?

by Edel MacBride on November 05, 2020


The Gaelic Brat Home


GALWAY 2020 European Capital of Culture presented Project BAA BAA,a unique programme celebrating the cultural, economic and environmental contribution of sheep in our lives!The European Congress of Sheep farming & associated traditions explored the traditions in sheep farming for meat, milk, wool and the many uses of wool in production.

I was delighted to be selected as part of the Designer Wool Showcase.

The brief was to create a piece for an exciting exhibition as part of the BAABAA events schedule in Galway. The exhibition was to centre around artwork of each designers unique creation in wool. This was the vision of events director Deborah Evers. Creative Art Director and Stylist Paula Hughes managed the process from designer liaison to finished Art Images, enlisting the Lens of Eilish McCormick.

For the Wool Showcase I entered my Cloak hand knitted in the yarn exclusive Sliabh Liag Wool with jewel mohair accents. The yarn was dyed and spun at Donegal Yarns and is for sale here in "Edel's Wool Shop'.



This piece investigates the concept of Aran stitching with the 'road less travelled' diamond intersection panel work on the back (worn here as the garment front) and some unique development of the blackberry stitch on the open front. The garment has a philosophical theme too in that it can become a place to live, I call it a 'Brat Home', after the historic Gaelic mantle of the same name. While discussing thornproof tweeds from this region a few years ago with an artist friend expert in these matters, he mentioned the BRAT and I had to know more. The concept of a garment that could protect you on the hillsides in all eventualities fascinated me. That idea of a 'home' travelling with you was a dream in a world where home is not a reality for so many.

(Thanks Seán Ó Brógain of Oireas for 'Home' inspiration, Fashion Fest Collection 2016, Guild Hall fashion showcase)

The Brat evolves as does our need to realistically incorporate more wool into our lives. A natural, reoccurring and sustainable fibre. A past staple of Irish farming that has become sidelined for many reasons, (another blog subject to come).

This piece took many hours of work and I enjoyed it all. It is made in sections with each section brought together with a long cabled strip where the cables are 'roped' in a wiggle effect rather than crossing. It is entirely hand stitched too as I enjoy doing this and making the piece entirely machine free! 

Project BaaBaa's Wool Showcase Exhibition is available as a short film online due to the second lockdown restrictions this October and November.

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