July 25 2020
Over the last few weeks, its been a real pleasure to profile some of the amazing designers, makers and producers we have worked with on special projects for Breac.House.
Every year brings new ideas and new discoveries and we look forward to working with more and more Irish makers in the years to come. So for now, we finish with our most recent project.
Like many things in 2020, it was almost ready just before 'the pause' and then the whole world changed. And then, as we prepared to open again, we made the journey to visit the workshop of Joe Hogan at Loch na Fooey in Connemara to collect a very special piece.
We have long admired the sheer artistry of Joe Hogan and had the privilege of seeing his work in recent years at exhibitions both in Kilkenny and indeed at The Glebe Gallery here in Donegal.
Joe Hogan has been making baskets at Loch na Fooey since 1978 using the natural willows which he grows there. Joe's work spans the full spectrum from traditional basket making to modern sculpture. Recent years have seen him focus firmly on artistic and sculptural baskets including collaborations with international fashion houses such as Loewe and closer to home in creating willow hats for fashion designer Joanne Hynes.
In an interview with French journalist Christopher Salet Joe explains his motivation in moving to non-functional baskets.
The whole context in which Joe has developed his skills and life speaks of an authentic approach to a sustainable life; taking time to get things right and finding a way to live where you want to live.
Selected for the Design Council of Ireland Irish Craft Portfolio Critical Selection 2019-2020, Joe continues to work from his studio in Connemara. He teaches basketmaking skills and has written three books on the craft, “Basketmaking in Ireland” (2001), “Bare Branches, Blue Black Sky” (2011) and “Learning from the Earth” (2018).
At Breac.House, we have been slow to add too much to our walls as we have always felt that the views of the Atlantic and the Derryveagh mountains are art enough. However, we have always planned to put a piece above the fireplace and having seen Joe's work a number of times, we began to toy with the concept of lichen twigs.
We often collect lichen covered twigs in our local forests and have placed them in vases around the house. Taking that further, we considered a wall hanging that would, like other pieces in the house, enhance the connection between guests and another aspect of Horn Head - The Lurgabrack forest and indeed Ards Forest Park just down the road. So we agreed to work on something that would almost float above the fireplace. The result- a lichened larch stick drawing wall piece, can now be seen in the living room.
For those lucky enough to be in the Galway area this summer, Joe's work will be included in an exhibition as part of Galway2020 at the Galway City Museum entitled MONUMENT
For more about Joe and his work, see Joe Hogan Baskets & the links below