Narrative Tools

Narrative Tools

May 2020 - May 2021
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Weaving Tools - Mourne Textiles Woven Fabric and Weaving Shuttle. - Mourne Textiles Weaving Tools - Mourne Textiles "The tools I use & love most each have a story attached." - David McCaul Edgar Campden's archival bamboo brush pot & Japanese brushes. Image supplied by Edgar's son Mark. Edgar Campdon's Archival Notebooks. - Generation Exhibition, National Design & Craft Gallery "I came across a number of his tools that I have added to my own clutter of things." - peter sheehan Ryan Connolly's Dads Upholstery Tools. From left, hyde pliers, tailor’s shears and pincers. My father's cutting lists. - Ryan Connelly It was special to have a piece of our grandmother with us on the day. - Shauna Sweeney Map Before we took any journey he would map out the route. - Bernadette Keogh Hammers Some are my dad’s, some are mine, some we share and others we don’t!. - Cara Murphy Pliers as with many of our tools we have multiples of everything…. ". - Silversmith Cara Murphy Hammers are very special to a silversmith as they are the main tool we use. - Cara Murphy Stanley Plow Plane plus blades. - John Sheeran My attachment to the items of my past was heightened in childhood. - Martha Cashman Grandmothers thimble. Using this thimble seems so right and intimate. - Pamela Hardesty Here is a photo of my mother’s mother Florence Webb, at her quilt as usual. - Pamela Hardesty My sculptures are like line drawings in wire. Notebooks, books & pliers are my tools. - Susan Cuff My Father’s Knife, alongside my tailors tracing wheel. - Caroline O’Brien They were passed to me from other smiths 40 years ago, - Jane Murtagh I inherited this dusting brush from my Father - Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck I remember admiring his work as a child. - Paul Bokslag


Narrative ToolsMay 2020 - May 2021

Welcome to our Narrative Tools online exhibition

Narrative Tools is an online and postal intergenerational project hosted by the National Design & Craft Gallery (NDCG) with visual artist Caroline Schofield.

It explores a culture of making through creative connections and the importance of handing down skills within families & our communities. Launched to coincide with Bealtaine Festival At Home 2020, NDCG aims to showcase the Narrative Tools project as part of the Bealtaine Festival 2021.                 

We invite you to send a photograph of a treasured handed-down tool or inherited hand-made items and tell NDCG why it is important to you. We advise to photograph or scan your items on a plain white or non patterend background at a high quality. Email your submission to or post to: Narrative Tools project, National Design & Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny. Include your name, photograph(s) and brief image description. Penned narratives are also welcome (120 words max).

To celebrate family and community craft connections, content submitted will be shared on and NDCG’s Facebook and Instagram platforms (@NDCGallery).

“Ever since vessels were first made from clay, clothing from wool, and metal used to create precious objects, makers have been inspired by the past. Craftsmanship and making have been passed down within families. We would love to know the traditions and history of your family as told through the craft tools you use or have inherited.”  - Caroline Schofield

GDPR: Your details will be held securely for the purposes of the project in line with Design & Crafts Council Ireland policy, and will not be shared with any other person/agency.

Education & Outreach

Narrative Tools Online Blog Fri 1 May 2020- Mon 31 May 2020

Our online Narrative Tools blog will continue to grow over the coming 12 month. To view updates on content gathered and our monthly public engagement activities please click here

Narrative Tools Project Gathering For DCCI GANS Members Fri 7 August, 3pm

NDCG along with visual artist Caroline Schofield, would like to directly engage with DCCI GANS members as part of the ‘Narrative Tools’ public engagement project. This online gathering includes an introductory overview about ‘Narrative Tools’, as well as interactive group activities with members of various GANS. Guest speakers include Colm Bagnall of the Irish Artist Blacksmiths Association, and Mary Palmer of the Cork Textiles Network, Cork Craft & Design, The Quilters Guild of Ireland and the Irish Patchwork Society. We invite all attending, to bring along a craft tool or item to discuss. Free zoom webinar, advanced booking required. Duration 45 min. Register here

Heritage Week Webinar: Tools Of The trade Thurs 20 August, 3.00 pm

Join NDCG with Narrative Tools visual artist Caroline Schofield, GENERATION exhibition curator Frances Mc Donald & Helena Mc Ateer of Borris Lacemakers, for an informal panel discussion focusing on heritage crafts. This webinar explores the theme 'Heritage on Your Doorstep'. Register here

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