The Shoe Making Kit

Dr Helen McAllister

21 November to 5 December 2015

Opening Reception with afternoon tea: Saturday 21 November 2-4pm

Helen McAllister creates intricately embroidered shoes, using meticulous application of her craft to construct pieces densely layered with narrative, symbolism and metaphor. Deeply influenced by historical Venice, her practice creates a dialogue between shoe-derived forms and ideas of what constitutes a pair.

Lace Series by Helen McAllister 2014 (2) RobertMclean_RobTakePhoto.com_20141124_0005

 

 

 

 

 

 

shoe 1 shoe 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walled shelving in this exhibition alludes to the stacked boxes of a shoe shop, and reminds us of the delight of unwrapping their tissue-clad contents. But it is also a reference to the 18th century shoe making kit, often given to young women as a wedding present. A precursor to the sewing box, the kit was presented in a beautifully made wooden box, containing all the tools and accoutrement needed to make the shoes of the day. Shoe-making would have been either a leisure pastime, or potentially a source of independent income, depending on the circumstances of the recipient.

Here, each little box hints at a shoe, yet its scale and details reflect the intimacy of embroidery and the shoe form that are now crafted together.

Winner in 2002 of the prestigious ‘Golden Fleece Award, Dr McAllister holds a BA, MA and PhD from the National College of Art and Design. Based in Dublin, this exhibition sees Helen return to the town of her birth.

The Shoe Making Kit opens on Saturday 21 November 2015 and continues to 5 December 2015

Open 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday