Love Irish Art – But Are We Northern Irish or Irish?

by Mar 17, 2018C1 - CLARITY, Connect With Your Audience, Who Are You?2 comments

Love Irish Art – But Are We Northern Irish or Irish?

Today as I write this post its St Patrick’s Day and we can celebrate all things artistic and ‘Irish’!

But earlier in the week at a local workshop I was taking in N.Ireland, the question came up about wether or not if you were from N.Ireland should your art and products be Northern Irish or Irish?

So Love Irish Art – But Are We Northern Irish or Irish?!

For others this might not seem important BUT this is a very real and difficult debate for those of us from Northern Ireland. Its not about politics – its about our identity as artists and makers – who are we?

I told the group that in the 15-odd years I have lived away from N. Ireland (in Scotland, Ireland, London & Australia), most people called me ‘the Irish lass’ – actually it was generally ‘the Irish girl with the loud mouth’, lol! Very rarely was there a distinction to the fact was I from the North or South – it would have been me made that distinction not other people.

So for me I described myself as an Irish maker but I do state in most things that I’m from N. Ireland. In fact many of my inspiration photographs are all from the Irish coastline – split equally between places like Dunfanghy in Co Donegal (Ireland) and Port Ballintrae in Co Antrim (N.Ireland). These are true places of beauty that totally inspire my and the photos I take make their way into the designs for my jewellery.

We also discussed what did we feel was right for our art, our products and our customers? I know for example that I have a big American following and that often I get comments about how the swirls and curls in my jewellery is celtic inspired. I also know that historically I have sold work because it was ‘made in Ireland’!

I have always been fascinated by our cultural heritage and the ancient Irish myths and legends. I love the landscape and the green of the grass – something I have NOT found in other parts of the world.

I am proud to be both Irish & Northern Irish. But for many of us this isn’t an easy answer.

So, if you are from N. Ireland, are you describing your ‘art’ as Northern Irish or Irish?

And for those of you who aren’t from Ireland – what do you think? Would you buy ‘art’ because it was from Northern Ireland or Ireland? Or would you buy the work because you are visually attracted to it regardless of where it was made? Or are both ‘things’ important because it tells the whole story of the piece of work and its creator?

I’d love to hear your opinions, so comment below!

#proudtobeirish #irishartist #irishdesigner #northernireland #ireland

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