Narrative Tools Blog

May 2020 - 2021

Welcome to the Narrative Tools blog.

Our online Narrative Tools blog will continue to grow over the coming 12 month. Here you will find updates and additional recorded information on our monthly public engagement activities and content gathered. If you would like to contribute to our blog please email  

To view our Narrative Tools online exhibition page please click here

Call Out                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Narrative Tools Online Exhibition                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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).

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.

Paul Bokslag
My grandfather worked in a small fruit import office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands for many years. His real passions however were writing poetry and short articles and making things with his hands. He was a master of papier-mâché and loved lettering. I remember admiring his work as a child and I still have some of his ink, pen-nibs and a book that he learned from in my studio.                                                                                                                                                                             

Martha Cashman
My attachment to the items of my past was heightened in childhood when my uncle returned from America to clear out and sell my grandparent’s home. Seeing my three brothers being allowed to chuck and smash the items from The Parlour ‘the out of bounds room’ across the yard to the horse trough was devastating. After much protest I was able to rescue several items of old fine china and coloured glass ware, old records and tools from the kitchen. Forty years later these items are all dispersed throughout my sister’s and niece’s homes, all held in a special place of the home.

Ryan Connolly
The upholstery tools in the image are, from left, Hyde pliers, tailor’s shears and pincers. These and others were the tools my father used, they were a means to create keep going, little else was probably thought of them at the time. It is only now as we see less and less people working by hand that we appreciate the value of the work, the people who did it and in this case their tools.

Mark Campden
My father’s bamboo brush pot was a junk shop find in his home town of Banbury when he was an art student. The brushes are Japanese, like sumi brushes but firmer. They are about 40 years old and I haven't found anything of the same quality. One is marked by my father as a wax only brush but now is too precious to use with wax!

Cara Murphy
Hammers are very special to a silversmith as they are the main tool we use. Some are my dad’s, some are mine, some we share and others we don’t! Some I have been gifted by different silversmiths I have worked with including several from Mogens Bjorn-Andersen (Denmark). Some are forged from the Design & Crafts Council Ireland blacksmith course, some came from Prague, others America….