Crowded Thresholds

Crowded Thresholds

10 August 2019 – 10 November 2019


Crowded Thresholds10 August 2019 – 10 November 2019

Max Brosi / Joe Caslin / Julie Connellan / Hazel Kenny / Daithi Magner / Paul McClure / Caoimhe McGuckin / John Rainey / Niall Sweeney @ Pony Ltd. / Brigitta Varadi

Curated by Fiona Mulholland

“Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfilment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living”. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

From amputated limb jewellery to wearable measurement systems; ‘voluptuously illustrated’ silk scarfs, to Rorschach inkblot textile hangings; derelict angel houses constructed using found materials, to artefacts that suggest new ways of representing the self - Crowded Thresholds is an intriguing group exhibition of established and emerging practitioners, working across different disciplines in applied art, design and visual art.

This thought-provoking exhibition represents the ‘emotional geography’ of the makers, generating a fascinating visual interplay between authentic storytelling and artistic expression, with a sense of playfulness and infectious imagination. A common thread throughout is the artists’ preoccupation with making the invisible, visible, and a fundamental interest in traditional processes and materials.

Crowded Thresholds explores effects of the subconscious in the creation and response to  objects of material culture. Reflecting on what Freud termed ‘The Uncanny’, the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar, the curator is interested in how psychoanalytic concepts overlap with the creative process. Bringing together a disparate set of influences from popular culture to the avantgarde; surrealism to realism; social cultural issues to the body at a microscopic level – the exhibition ultimately embraces our humanity.


Presented in National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny in partnership with Kilkenny Arts Festival from 10 August - 10 November 2019.

As part of the exhibition illustrator and street artist Joe Caslin has developed a new monumental installation for the city. He has taken inspiration for this new work from the vitality of the arts and craft in Kilkenny and the intrinsic value of creative expression for our culture, society and wellbeing. This new project is produced the by National Design & Craft Gallery in partnership with Kilkenny Arts Festival, with valued support from Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny Civic Trust and Bretts Hardware.

On Tour

Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park, Dublin 7 December 2019 – 25 March 2020

We are delighted to be launching the Crowded Thresholds exhibition at Farmleigh Gallery this evening Friday 6 Dec, 6pm with special guest Panti Bliss

Luan Gallery, Athlone 21 July 2020 – 20 September 2020

Education & Outreach

Archive of Events for Crowded Thresholds at National Design & Craft Gallery August - November 2019

Line + Narrative - Illustration Masterclass Fri Aug 9, 2pm – 5pm €25

Masterclass in illustration techniques with Joe Caslin. Age 16+. Book here

Collaborative build using found materials and DIY architecture Sat 10 & Sun Aug 11, 11am – 1pm or 2pm – 4pm

Collaborative build using found materials and DIY architecture, inspired by Daithi Magner’s sculpture, with Sandra McAllister. Ages 14+. Register here

Curator’s Tour & Launch Sat 10 Aug, 1pm

Join curator Fiona Mulholland with exhibiting makers for an introduction to the exhibition, as they discuss personal and creative investments within making processes.
Followed by the Crowded Thresholds exhibition launch with Crafted Cocktails from Pembroke Kilkenny. Register here

Movement + Mindfulness Flow Yoga Sun 11 Aug, 12pm, Pay as you want session

An invigorating flow yoga session with Essie Millie of Kilkenny School of Yoga, focusing on mindful movement to stimulate creativity and positive energy. Register here

Secret Garden Reflective Creative Space Sun 11 - Sun Aug 18, 11am - 4pm

Drop-in to our peaceful secret garden retreat, to relax, contemplate or make. Register here

Children’s Craft Workshops for Kilkenny Arts Festival Tue 13 – 15 Aug, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm

Creative craft workshops for children as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival, taking inspiration from pieces in Crowded Thresholds. 1 workshop/child (6-13yrs)
Impressive Illustrations with Caroline Schofield
Textured Textiles with Sandra Mc Allister
Clay Creatures with Brid Lyons   Book here

Visible//Invisible Mindful Drawing Sat 17 Aug 11am – 1pm €10

Relax and reflect in this mindful drawing session, with Visual artist Caroline Schofield. Book here

Huddle Fri 18 Oct

H U D D L E is an art discussion group devised by Saidhbhín Gibson. This is an inclusive event for the discussion around contemporary art, craft, design and associative narratives. Gibson has coordinated the seminars since 2017 and chaired the events in numerous venues including IMMA (Dublin) and VISUAL (Carlow).


The next H U D D L E will take place at the National Design and Craft Gallery, Kilkenny:
Friday 18th October.


If you are interested in attending the forthcoming H U D D L E, you must pre-register by emailing before 10th October. Reading material will be issued.

Children’s Craft Club: My Textile Mind Sat 19 Oct, 10.30am 0r 12 noon

Be inspired by Brigitta Varadi's tactile, large-scale wall hangings on display in our current exhibition, Crowded Thresholds. Working with our resident DCCI education panel member Sandra McAllister, children will make their own textile wall-hanging. Includes gallery tour of selected work.

FREE event, age 5 - 12yrs. Booking required

Seminar: Mind of Makers Thu Nov 7, 12pm - 4.30pm. Registration from 11.30am. €10/€5 group rate

Venue: Butler House Hotel, Kilkenny

This seminar for makers, artists and students explores aspects of CPD as well as the ideation, conceptualisation and processes involved in the development of work. Three exhibitors Paul McClure, Caoimhe McGuckin and Daithi Magner together with Fiona Mulholland, curator of our current exhibition Crowded Thresholds, speak about their career progression and practices, with a focus on the exhibited pieces and current work in progress. Book here

Creative Workshop with Daithi Magner Fri 8 Nov, 10am - 5pm. €80 (limited places)

Venue: Pembroke Hotel, Patrick Street, Kilkenny

Exploring Set Design, Model Making, and Narrative through Sculptures

Daithi Magner is a sculptor, set designer and prop specialist originally from Limerick and based in London. He initially trained as a furniture maker, later studying Production Design & Art Direction at Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). He uses his design and fabrication skills for all types of film, TV and theatre set and prop production.

This intensive workshop will look at skills used for Set Design in planning space and telling narrative through texture, surface and objects. Each participant will take a simple structure, designing and building a space which tells a narrative based on a play /book or their own narrative. Daithi will share his sculptural / model making techniques such as creating texture through wall papers / roof tiles, dying fabrics, layering stories through use of found objects, posters or images. Book here

Crowded Thresholds Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin Friday 6 December 2019 at 6.00 pm

We are delighted to be launching the Crowded Thresholds exhibition at Farmleigh Gallery this evening Friday 6 Dec, 6pm with special guest Panti Bliss