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Artlink artist Michael Flaherty returns from Ireland!

Newfoundland artist Michael Flaherty has recently returned from the Artlink Exchange residency in Ireland. Check out what he had to say about the experience below!

“I originally planned to go to Fort Dunree in 2020, but the intervening two years of delays and postponements turned out to be quite beneficial for the development of my proposed project and my art practice as a whole. My proposal was to weave with the tide, a conceptual project which I had a little plan about how to actually execute. While waiting for travel to become possible again I taught myself how to crochet and weave, and built multiple iterations of looms ranging from quite rudimentary to somewhat sophisticated (but still very idiosyncratic). To my own surprise, I’ve discovered a somewhat serious interest in fibre arts, especially crochet, weaving, and dyeing.

My main project during the residency, which I call *Tidal Weave*, was a slow collaboration with the ocean to make a woven fabric. I built a loom where some of the moving parts were operated by the rising and falling of the tides. The loom was placed on the beach, and at each low tide, I would go down to manually weave a number of rows. As the tide rose I would leave the loom to be operated by the movement of the water. Over the course of a week (13 tides) a long, narrow tapestry was created. I embraced the element of chance with this project and was delighted to find bits of seaweed, sand, and living things inhabiting the wool. This project was a continued exploration of the idea of “slowness”, and addressed a research question I have been mulling for a number of years: How can makers (such as craftspeople) carry on in an era of ecological catastrophe?

I’ll continue working in this new direction. I have a few ideas for new woven works, and I’ll be starting a major project involving crochet and ceramics soon. I am so grateful for the gift that this residency has been to me.”

Michael Flaherty