Behind the Scenes & Future Fashion

9 August 2013 – 16 October 2013
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Behind the Scenes & Future Fashion 9 August 2013 – 16 October 2013

Curated by Angela O'Kelly

Two exhibitions exploring fashion, craft and the theatrical both on the stage and on the catwalk.

The Abbey is Ireland’s national theatre, and home to the only full-time costume production workshop in the country. Turning the traditional idea of a costume exhibition inside out, Behind the Scenes focuses on the undergarment, demonstrating that these complex, functional pieces are beautiful objects in their own right. It follows the team’s journey from initial concept through sketching, designing, pattern-cutting, sampling, construction and tailoring to the finished pieces themselves. Featuring panniers, hoops, crinolines and bustles, specially created for the exhibition by the Abbey team, the exhibition celebrates the sculptural qualities of these beautiful objects and the superb craft skills employed in making them.


Focusing on innovators of fashion and sculpture for the body, Future Fashion explores the work of fashion, jewellery and shoe designers who are embracing – and transforming – craft skills and techniques through innovative design thinking, sculptural aesthetic, and cutting-edge technology and materials. Including Úna Burke, Andreia Chaves, Marloes ten Bhomer, Stephanie Bila, Ana Rajcevic and Julia Lundsten of FINSK, Future Fashion explores a fascinating range of approaches to contemporary fashion.

Marloes ten Bhömer
Marloes ten Bhömer’s work consistently aims to challenge generic typologies of women’s shoes through experiments with non-traditional technologies and material techniques. By reinventing the process by which footwear is made, the resulting shoes serve as unique examples of new aesthetic and structural possibilities, while also serving to criticise the conventional status of women’s shoes as cultural objects.

Her research into feet and footwear has resulted in a variety of experimental conceptual pieces, some of which have been developed into technically sound (wearable) shoes, others which are produced solely as sculptural pieces. The existence of both directions within her practice generates a layer to the work that comments on the perception of functionality, and the context within which they sit (in galleries, museums, or in boutiques) challenges the audiences’ preconceptions about the shoe. She is based in London.

Stephanie Bila
Stephanie Bila’s collection is an exploration of the ability of jewellery to enhance our perception of the human form. Linear sculptures extend, encase, rest upon and surround the body, creating a new human architecture through design. Veins of Swarovski Elements run through the pieces, accentuating their organic form and adding a sense of vibrancy to the structures, bringing them to life. The materials used are beech Bendywood and Swarovski crystals. The inspiration carries on through to smaller scale ready-to-wear jewellery pieces. She is based in London.

Úna Burke
Úna Burke is a leather artist and designer using vegetable-tanned leathers and traditional leatherworking techniques to refine her distinct construction of leather panelling and brass fittings.  She creates large sculptural art pieces for private collections, exhibitions and museums and seasonal fashion collections, belts, jewellery, handbags etc. Úna’s work is concept-based, with influence taken from psychological and military sources. She is based in London.

Andreia Chaves
The ‘Goldsculpt’ series by shoe designer Andreia Chaves explores the concept of movement as she pushes craftsmanship to realise a sculptural aesthetic where material and geometry are integral to the shoe design. The results are fluid structures that involve the foot and create a modern and unique effect. ‘Goldsculpt’ is completely handmade in Italy (for the leather work) and Ireland (for the gold structures). Shoes are made in goat leather or lambskin and all of the structures are 24K gold plated.

Chaves is best known for her innovative and distinctive visual approach, fusing craftsmanship, experimental materials and cutting-edge technology to realise her footwear designs. She is based in Europe and Brazil.

Julia Lundsten
FINSK was launched in 2004 by Julia Lundsten. Attention to detail and craftsmanship are paramount to FINSK, with the shoes being carefully hand made in an atelier in Brazil using luxurious natural materials. Maintaining an ethical production process is essential, and all the leathers used are by-products of other industries. The natural beauty of locally sourced materials remains a significant part of each collection. Inspiration derives from architecture, furniture details and structures found in nature. Likening a shoe to a chair, Lundsten views the heel and sole as the chair legs, with the upper the seat. She is based in London.

Ana Rajcevic
Ana Rajcevic has set her art practice at the intersection of sculpture and fashion design, creating unique wearable objects that challenge the traditional context of both disciplines. She is interested in ways of transforming the human figure through complex pieces of adornment or body-sculptures, questioning the established notions of beauty and ‘normality’. Her practice explores the themes of mutation and evolution, relationships between the rational and the subconscious, human and animal. She pays close attention to form and the visual impact of shapes and symmetry to sculpt an image that is powerful, elegant and timeless. All her pieces are handcrafted in polyester resin from multi-part master moulds using gel coat, fiberglass and silicone rubber. The pieces perform a double role: they exist as luxurious fashion artefacts on the body, but also as independent artworks exhibited in galleries, blurring the boundaries between fashion and fine art. She is based in London.

Education & Outreach

BANTER ON FASHION: What is Irish Style? Wed 14th Aug 7.00 pm

Interactive Installation: Willow Woven Skirts with Jean Conroy Fri 9th - Sun 11th Aug 2.00 - 5.30 pm

Costume: Curator & Artist Talk Sat 10th Aug 3.00 pm

Drop-in Workshop: Playful Pin Sculptures with Carrie Lynam Sat 10th Aug 10.00 am - 5.00 pm; Fri 16th - Sat 17th Aug 2.00 - 5.00 pm

Children’s Workshops: Funky Fibre Badges with Sheila Jordan Tues 13th -Thurs 15th Aug 2.00, 3.00 & 4.00 pm

Children’s Workshops: Clay Costumes & Creatures with Shona Flood Tues 13th -Thurs 15th Aug 2.00, 3.00 & 4.00 pm

Children’s Workshops: Pattern Print T-Shirts with Victoria Cody Tues 13th -Thurs 15th Aug 2.00, 3.00 & 4.00 pm

Craft & Education Evening for Primary Teachers Wed 18th Sept 6pm -7.15pm

Invited craftsperson and educationalist Polly Minett will guide primary teachers through our COSTUME exhibition focusing on how craft objects and techniques of making can aid integrated and process based learning in the classroom.

FAMILY DAY: Sew You 14 Sept, 10.30 am & 12 noon

Sew You is inspired by our current exhibition Costume: Behind the Scenes. Children are invited to the National Craft Gallery for an experimental sewing workshop that aims to ignite their imaginations. Each participant will have an opportunity to experiment with stitch, materials, colour and design. Unconventional materials will inspire children and encourage them to play and have fun with the traditional craft skill of sewing.

Not to be missed! Families encouraged to stay and join in, workshop 5+

CULTURE NIGHT: Creative Chaos & Couture Fri 20th Sept, 5.00 pm - 9.30pm

Join us for an evening extravaganza of fashion, making, workshops and more Inspired by the fabulous forms and fashions in our COSTUME exhibition! Kicking off at 5pm with kiddies workshops the evening will include Bold Body Sculpture wire and mixed media workshop with Caroline Schofield, then Pick up a Pencil and explore the galleries through drawing! Culture nighters try your hand up-cycling at our Embellish -ment Station with textile artist Deirdre Harte or show off your fav shoes for our Shoe Fantastic - Glamour Cam! Grown ups can design and make a Fascinating Fascinator with milliner Rebecca Patterson or bring your needles and join the crochet circle making collars, cuffs & more!

FAMILY DAY: Making Faces Sat 12th Oct 10.30 am & 12 noon

Families are invited to take a guided walk through the galleries followed by a creative workshop with craftsperson Carrie Lynam. The Making Faces workshop is inspired by Ana Rajcevic body-sculptures in our Costume: Future Fashions exhibition. Create masks together inspired by the form and design of Rajcevic unusual face adornments.  This is an unconventional mask-making workshop that combines card and fabric to create curious wearable objects. 5+