Ariadne’s Thread 2024 Contemporary Art Textiles Graduate Exhibition

4th Jun 2024 - 12th Jun 2024
11am - 4pm
Ariadne’s Thread 2024 Contemporary Art Textiles Graduate Exhibition

Ariadne’s Thread

2024 Contemporary Art Textiles Graduate Exhibition

Ariadne’s Thread, an exhibition by a group of graduates from MTU Crawford College of Art and Design’s Special Purpose Award in Contemporary Art Textiles,

Opening Event 6pm Tuesday 4th June

Gallery open Mon-Fri 11-4pm

MTU Gallery, 46 Grand Parade, Cork City.


The exhibition will run for from 11am-4pm each Mon-Fri, until Wednesday 12th June, and will showcase 2D and 3D textiles pieces by ten artists who have recently completed their studies. The ten exhibiting artists are Patsy Atkinson, Sarah Buckley, Theresa Connolly, Doreen Fitzmaurice, Mary Foster, Claudia Hernandez-Espinosa, Laurie Manning, Áine Sealy, Kay Roche and Marjan Vos.

Their work explores a broad range of complex themes such as loss, memory, family history, nature, connection, conflict and exploitation. Using diverse techniques, materials and processes, the wall-hung and sculptural works include weave, crochet, stitch, felting, print, natural materials and natural dyes.

Ariadne’s Thread takes its title from Greek mythology. Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter, is associated with problem-solving skills, ingenuity and creativity. When Theseus went to slay the Minotaur, she helped him to escape the labyrinth by giving him a ball of red thread. At the heart of this Greek myth lies a metaphor relating to finding our way through the maze of the creative process – something the ten female exhibitors can relate to well. Each showed great intuition, creativity and clever problem-solving skills as they worked through their research and creative challenges over the past two years to culminate in the creation of this body of work.

Artist Details



Patsy Atkinson

Patsy Atkinson’s interest in nature and deep connection with it is explored through eco-printing, slow stitch, mono printing and natural dyes. After a lifetime of balancing family life and a busy career in communications, she has recently completed the Special Purpose Award in Art Textile at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design. She holds a BA Degree in English & Spanish from University College Cork and had previously studied sculpture under the late John Tonks and pastel painting with artist, Victor Richardson. She has exhibited in the UK (The Botanical Gardens, Birmingham and the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) and in Ireland on Sherkin Island as part of the West Cork Islands’ Summer Festival, at Cnoc Buí Art Centre, the Lavit Gallery, Tracton Arts Centre and MTU Gallery at 46 Grand Parade in Cork where she exhibited eco printed works to highlight the protection of trees in 2021. Her work was also featured in The Material Line exhibition at the MTU Gallery, 46 Grand Parade, in 2024, as part of the MAKE Symposium. Patsy is a member of Cork Textiles Network.

Patsy’s final piece explores our human connection with nature and how it benefits us on many levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Her research led her to Mary Oliver’s poetry, with the focus on one line in particular, “The prayers that are made out of grass” from her poem, Mindful. Using Oliver’s words as pattern only, Patsy pieced the paper like tiny seedheads to create a form of code for her beautiful words and imagery.  She chose a spiral as it is a common pattern in nature, and the ancient symbolism of the spiral is also associated with prayer labyrinths, our spiritual journey and eternity, to honour Mary Oliver’s deep reverence for nature and her sense of seeing the spiritual in the natural world.

Sarah Buckley

Sarah Buckley is a visual artist based in North Cork. Working mainly in textiles while also incorporating sculpture and installation, Sarah’s work is a personal exploration of childhood memory, trauma, experience and identity. Playing on emotive motifs of childhood, her work delves into the psychological impact of having two infantile haemangiomas (benign vascular birthmarks). This exploration has led her to expand her curiosity and enquiry into of psychic wounds, social acceptance of difference and visual impairment. Interested in engaging discussion around childhood memory and perception, she uses the medium of textiles for its accessibility of understanding, associations of childhood and slow, mediative production. Her work stays within the parameters of childhood, memory, drawing and stitch and has more recently drawn on old family photographs. She is also interested in creative immersive, experiential installation spaces.

Sarah graduated with a BA in Visual Art (Sherkin Island) in 2018 and is currently undertaking a Special Award in Textiles (Level 8) in the Crawford College of Art and Design due for completion in May 2024. Her work has been exhibited in Ireland and the UK and she received an Arts Council Agility Award in 2021. She is currently curator for the EMERGE exhibition and awards with Cork Craft and Design for the 2024 Emerge graduate show in August. She has an upcoming joint show with artist Claire O’Reilly in West End Art Studios, Mallow in October 2024 and a solo show scheduled for March 2025 in Blackwater Valley Makers, Fermoy, Co. Cork. She is a founding member and active participant in West End Art Studios in Mallow.


Theresa Connolly

Theresa Connolly has been producing textile art for many years using a variety of methods and materials.  Her career in human resources and her interest in the lived experiences of women has informed her interest in the circumstances in which women find themselves.  Theresa holds a MA in Women’s Studies and a MSc in Research in Applied Social Studies.  She has recently completed the Level 6 – Textiles: Techniques and Materials, Level 7 – Creating 2D and 3D Textile Art and the Level 8 Special Purpose Award in Art Textile programmes at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design.

Theresa’s final work seeks to represent the stark difference between the casual luxury of Afternoon Tea enjoyed by many in the Western world and the lived experiences of those tasked with harvesting that tea for our pleasure.  The life of tea pickers in Munaar, India (and throughout tea planting areas in the world) is fraught with physical danger coupled with poor working conditions and short life expectancy - circumstances which are not immediately obvious to the consumer.”

In ‘The bitter taste of tea’, she draws the viewers’ attention to this dichotomy by juxtaposing the luxury of rich, handmade fabrics - formed into artefacts of the western tea ceremony - against the destruction of the good 'linen' tablecloth underneath.  Words are used throughout the artwork to raise greater awareness of the reality of life for tea pickers and to perhaps, encourage us, as consumers, to be a little more discerning in our choices.


Doreen Fitzmaurice

Doreen Fitzmaurice is a textile artist living and working in Wexford. She uses a range of mediums, including weaving, felting, embroidery, drawing, eco & natural dyeing. Her work explores textural narratives through landscape and figurative compositions; her inspiration is often drawn from nature, in addition to responding to stories, travel and social injustices.

She transforms pre-used and found materials giving them a new energy, and she favours hand techniques which are slow and meditative, some of these skills are at risk of being lost as they are so labour intensive. Doreen enters group shows and have had solo exhibitions.

In 2013 she gained skills in natural dyeing during an artist’s residency in Sweden; and in 2018 learnt back strap loom weaving during seven weeks with a tutor in Mexico.

Her previous degrees in education and nutrition (2005 & 2012) led to experience in second and third level teaching. After attending Grennan Mill Craft School, Kilkenny (2022) and Crawford College of Art & Design Cork (2024), her current focus is on her art practice while facilitating community art workshops part-time.

For her final work, Syrian and Ukrainian refugees’ experiences heightened her responses to the devastation and horror occurring in Palestine.  Experienced medics working in Palestinian hospitals are using the reporting acronym for the first time in their careers – W.C.N.S.F (wounded child not surviving family). Doreen’s final piece is a response to the horrific meaning of those five letters.


Mary Foster

Coming from a tradition where both her mother and grandmother were dressmakers, Mary has always had a love of fabrics and texture. She followed this passion to become a dress designer, and worked in the industry until the mid-90’s. As a mother of three young children, Mary became interested in psychology and re-entered college to become a psychotherapist, working in particular with children and adults who had experienced early developmental trauma.  She moved to West Cork five years ago to pursue a slower pace of life which has allowed her to combine both her  passion for textile and psychotherapy in her art making.

Mary is interested in how our image-making connects us to a deeper level of ourselves that help us navigate a deeper relationship with ourselves and the unconscious. She has been exploring Jung’s ideas on Alchemy and Individuation and how the creative process can be a bridge to greater levels of awareness. Mary uses mostly natural materials including paper, fabric, charcoal, ash and found objects in nature.  

Claudia Hernández-Espinosa

Claudia Hernández-Espinosa has completed the Special Purpose Award in Art Textile at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork, Ireland. Originally from Mexico City, needlework has been a constant passion alongside her early studies (MSc).

Fusing her scientific background with her artistic pursuits, Claudia finds inspiration in merging microscopic imagery and exploring physical phenomena in her textile creations. Her first indexed publication as co-author is about textiles as medium for peaceful protests.

Armida de la Garza, Claudia Hernández-Espinosa & Rosana Rosar (2021): Embroidery as Activist Translation in Latin America, TEXTILE, DOI: 10.1080/14759756.2021.1962697 https://

Claudia’s final work is a letter, a homage, and a cathartic exercise.

Made from dyed cotton fabric, cotton thread, acrylic granny squares and cotton batting, these tiles serve as both a heartfelt letter and a poignant homage to her beloved auntie. They evolved into a cathartic exercise, weaving together shared memories and stitches. Crafted by her aunt, the crocheted granny squares remain unfinished, now integral parts of a patchwork that encapsulates moments shared between them, spanning from the past into the present.



Laurie Manning

Laurie Manning is an emerging textile artist based in Cork. She studied Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design, graduating in 2000. She has recently retrained at the Mallow College of Design and Tailoring.

She completed Textiles: Techniques and Materials (Level 6), Creating 2D and 3D Textile Art ( Level 7) and a Special Purpose Award in Textiles ( Level 8) at Crawford College of Art & Design, MTU where she has developed an interest in print and stitch. Her work has featured in The Material Line exhibition at the MTU Gallery, 46 Grand Parade, in 2024, as part of the MAKE Symposium.

Her final work is inspired by her grandparent's emigration to Canada in the 1950s, particularly her grandmother's experience and the experiences of thousands of young women emigrating from Ireland at that time.

There was a belief that female emigration was more problematic than male. Women's materialist desires and love of ‘things’ were blamed for the high emigration figures. The rhetoric was that women left home not because they needed jobs or lacked economic security but because they were weak. Their male counterparts were regarded as stoic and hard-working.

Laurie wanted her piece to show her grandmother and Irish female emigrants as strong, resilient women.  She used her grandmother's photographs and documents such as her marriage certificate, travel card and passport to show how young these women were and how many life milestones occurred away from home and family. Her grandmother’s experience was a lonely one, so Laurie’s piece is reminiscent of a quilt to bring comfort to her young grandmother. 

Kay Roche

Kay Roche is a textile and mixed media artist living in Kilkenny. Her work is inspired by the surrounding landscape and personal emotional experiences.

Kay has crafted from an early age, learning at the hands of her mother and great aunts. She loves to explore different mediums and enjoys teaching and passing on her skills to willing students. She graduated from Grennan Mill Craft School with distinction and has recently completed the Special Purpose Award in Art Textile at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design.  Kay is a member of Cork Textiles Network and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. Kay’s work is exhibited during Kilkenny Arts Week and is regularly shown in group shows. Her work  also featured in The Material Line exhibition at MTU Gallery, 46 Grand Parade in Cork in 2024, as part of the MAKE Symposium.

In her final piece. ‘Contours, Earth-links’,  Kay explores the ups and downs of life and the fragile connections between mankind and the planet that we live on. The skyline of the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountains are portrayed using crocheted cotton yarn. The shadows created in the artwork are reflections on our past while the future is yet to be determined.


Áine Sealy

Growing up between the railway and the sea in County Dublin the beaches and coastline have been a constant source of inspiration for Áine Sealy. This unique upbringing inspired her artistic journey, leading her to study Archaeology and History of European Art at UCD graduating in 1987.

She went on to work as assistant gallerist at the Taylor Gallery, dealing in contemporary Irish art and fine art auctions with Taylor DeVeres  until 1990, when she travelled. On return, Áine worked in third level education at NCAD and in an industrial design partnership in County Wicklow. Living in rural County Waterford for the past twenty-five years, she has been a home carer, gaining experience in speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.  Áine was a founder member of the Special Olympics committee for the largest therapeutic equine club in Munster for children and adults with disabilities. She is particularly interested in the access to art afforded by the tactile nature of textile art.

Secretary to a rural community development program, with a knitting and stitching group that has run for fifteen years,  she has always had a deep connection with textiles, handwork, and knitting and quilting. Her work is grounded in her community and background, with the local landscape and seascapes inspiring ongoing enquiry and engagement with nature. Exhibitions include Lismore Castle summer craft exhibition 2016, Lismore Co Waterford ‘Quilts in the Cathedral’, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore Co. Waterford June 2017 and ‘Provoke’, Ebony Seed, Cork, November 2023.

Áine is interested in the structure and geometry of folds in nature, how incremental increases lead to a sense of flow and action. In her final work, she explores how the energy and movement of waves translates and traces itself onto the shoreline, throwing up stones, seaweed, and carving patterns in the sands. Her embroidery finds the moment of action on the surface and traces the marks from dyeing.


Marjan Vos

Marjan Vos is an emerging textile artist who has recently completed a Special Purpose Award in Art Textile at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design.

She originally studied Floristry and Horticulture in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where her passion for nature started. Marjan went on to work as a master florist in the Netherlands. She completed a Contemporary Art degree in 1992 and moved to Tipperary in 1993 with her family to start a new life. She worked as a manager in a garden centre in Clonmel for five years and had the opportunity to work with people with disabilities, teaching them arts, crafts and horticulture in a day service. After her retirement she start studying textile art in MTU Crawford College of Art and Design.

In her artwork, Marjan mainly uses recycled materials to reduce her carbon footprint. This could be reused yarn, table clothes, cotton and anything she can find in second-hand shops or is donated by friends and family.

For her final work, Marjan’s research reflects her love and connection with nature and the importance of a sustainable approach. Using recycled materials was important so she used donated yarn and other recycled materials that she had in hand to make it. She wove plastic into the piece to highlight plastic pollution and incorporated words into it such as “Protect”, “Reuse” “Reduce” and “Salvage” so that it is a tree with an important message - that we can all play our part in reducing our carbon footprint.

11am - 4pm