Monday, November 28, 2016

Waterford Crystal, a blast from the past

A little bit of history...
Some images of the making of the Waterford Crystal Folk in 1997/8. This project came up during the interview at TCRfm last week. (about 14 minutes in)

The making of the Waterford Crystal Folks in 1997 Photo by Frank Miller- Irish Times
The making of the Waterford Crystal Folks in 1997
Photo by Frank Miller- Irish Times
My biggest and also last Corporate commissions before I got ill in 1998, was for Waterford Crystal. I re-created the workers and their skills in miniature. The Dolls were about 30cm height.

During this time I was given access to all the different parts of the factory. From the glass blowers, the woman at the kiln, the cutters, the packers. My then partner and I made the machines and tools all to scale.
The Waterford Crystal artists made me a set of all the stages of glass in scale with the dolls.

one of the Waterford Crystal glass  made to scale of the Corina Duyn's dolls.
one of the Waterford Crystal cut glass
made to scale of the dolls.
A huge project. All very exciting. 

It was displayed in the visitor centre for a few years.

Full display of my Waterford Crystal workers at the visitor centre in the late '90's

article in Crystal Clear about the project 
article in Crystal Clear about the project 
When it was dismantled before the closing down of the factory, I was given back the dolls.
Unfortunatelly, most of the glass went 'missing', apart from the one piece I have.

I have a three of the ex-Waterford Crystal workers in my studio -  now reading the newspapers or playing music, one of them still wearing it's protective clothing.

The three men are available for sale (see photo). The woman now lives in Kerry! The others workers, I think, are enjoying retirement in County Westmeath.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these guys, I take an offer of €60, including of postage. Please contact me 
Waterford Crystal  ex-workers for sale. Contact Corina
update: The worker on the left, still in work gear is going to live in Dungarvan.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Radio and Blog as communication tools

What a week it has been ...
A week of learning and accepting, of beauty and annoyance, of extreme tiredness, pure joy and big smiles. 
A week in which I was told - again-  to not give up on the path I am on, and that I Rock :-)

It started off with art student Phyllis coming for work experience. A sharing of skills and knowledge: I have support to do some experimental work on my animation project, in turn I give guidance with the sculptural work for her course.


The World in View, Tramore Community Radio
After the interview on TCRfm
with Bernadette and Stan Phillips.
image from facebook page

On Tuesday I received a phone call from Bernadette Phillips, while she was visiting the Dis-ability ... This Ability exhibition.  Bernadette persuaded me to travel to Tramore on Thursday to be interviewed on their 'World in View'  program on Tramore Community Radio.
I was honoured to be asked, but also concerned about travelling two days in a row as unfortunately I had a hospital appointment on Wednesday which made me yet again experience the wasteful-workings-of-the-HSE ... I will write about that later, as it would spoil the beauty of the other happenings this week!

I am SO glad that Bernadette did not settle for having an interview conducted over the phone...
Yes it was a challenge to get up on Thursday morning while feeling quite ill with tiredness, even though I had been in bed and on the couch for almost twenty hours. Painkillers, a shower, meditation and a conviction that this was an opportunity not to be missed, I was driven to Tramore. Yet again the weather played its part and granted me with stunning views of mountains and the sea. 
Even the studio has a view over the beach and sea!

The connection that was made with Bernadette during our initial phonecall certainly continued when we met. The energy of Bernadette and husband Stan, who run the radio program together, is just simply beautiful.  They are people who are absolutely grounded in spirituality, in nature, in love of life, in understanding of life. What a privilege to be in their company, to talk with them about my journey through life and illness. About art and writing, disability and the exhibition. To received encouragement, or maybe their 'push' to not deviate from the path I am currently on: to share with 'the world' the Ability of people with dis-abilities. To share my story. Bernadette- like Grace O'Sullivan at the opening talk looked me straight into my eyes when saying this... Thank you! Thank you also to the listeners who commented with such positivity on the interview.

The half hour interview is available as podcast . My interview starts at about 9.30 minutes in, although the whole program is interesting!

For me personally, there is a lot to take in from this interview, the exhibition, the reactions to it all. It does take time to make it mine - to find ways in which I can tell me story in a way that it does not negatively influence my health, by going over my energy limits. 

This BLOG is for now the best communication tool I can use, and over time, maybe I can do more talks, like to ones I did this year at The Sanctaury, at UCC, radio, at exhibitions and book launches... All in good time! If you like to get notifications of my posts, please sign up for "Follow by email" 

Again, Thank YOU, my readers for coming along on my journey of discovery.



Show during Trump protest,
with original quote by Angela Y. Davis 
To finish of for today, I saw this quote recently: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept…” - Angela Y. Davis

A good goal to have!















Links for further reading

Grace O'Sullivan's talk, which is included in this post 
Hatched (with poetry and images) now available as e-book 
Talk at the Sanctuary 
My book SHOP
Tramore Community Radio 'World In View'
Bernadette Phillips website




Apparently I 'rock', now that made me smile!
facebook comment

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tired from standing up unaided

My next art project is all about movement ...

I intend to learn the tricks of stop-motion animation.
I started a few months ago
and imagine it might take me a year
 to complete the figures, and a very short film.

I assembled one armature a few months ago.
And made it a pod.

The past few days,
together with Phyllis
we assembled the second armature.

Slightly different design.

After putting it almost together yesterday,
we had to take a lot of pieces apart again today.

Hip bones were meant to be ankles...
Shoulders really only have one joint...
But we did it!

However, it proofed to be in need of our support to stand up.
Or maybe it was just tired
from all the surgeries! ...
Tired from Corina Duyn on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

There is no such thing as dis-ability ...

... if you take the dis out of dis-ability. [views expressed are in connection with the group who are part of the exhibition]

Today I visited the Dis-ability… This Ability exhibition in Tramore. I wanted to see it in my own time, to take in the energy around the exhibits; to really look at the work, the location, the story behind it. And to explore my own story within it all.

haning of the Dis-Ability ... This Ability  exhibition Tramore co. Waterford
Ann O'Grady and Karen organising the puppets

It is just about a week ago that I travelled to Tramore with Artist Anna Moore to set up the exhibition. It took us and fellow IWA member Ann O’Grady and her sister Karen over two and a half hours. We divided up the tasks between the hanging of the prints and paper art, the display of the puppets, and the various books, notebooks and postcards. Pleased, but exhausted, we departed to meet again at the launch the following day.                        

I stayed at a hotel that night, I'm so glad I didn't have far to travel! My back felt like it had about 6 twists in it. My legs, in serious pain, were close to being put up for adoption, and I was totally exhausted. But we were all very pleased with what we had achieved! 

The way Ann and Karen displayed the puppets from the puppet - project  all tell a story: A story of music, fun, and traveling abroad by plane, or on a butterfly. Of life, and being a proud Irish citizen. The story of being a reporter but also of stillness and even flirting!
Biker and Baker from the puppet-project,
by Mark Foley and Sarah Lennon
They show the story of our lives, lived with illness or disability - by stepping out of the Box to share the story of our Ability! The paper art, books, cards, poetry, knitwear and paintings on sale all tell the same story- just through other forms. 

I am so immensely proud of all the work that has been created. Proud of my fellow IWA members - proud how they all jumped into the deep end with me all those months ago to create these puppets, to create a story, to create such amazing works, way beyond anyone's expectations. I am honoured of the trust they endowed me with. The trust that I could guide them through this eight-month period: from handling the first piece of clay to the filming and sharing of our story.
I feel deeply privileged to have had this opportunity. To realize that, with the help of the IWA staff, I could teach again. It had been 17 years since I led my last official workshop - in a group home with teenagers. I still think about that workshop which I had to abandon because of sudden illness. I still want to go back there and finish the puppets with them. But knowing that 17 years has passed, these young lads and lasses probably have kids of their own right now…

Anyway, back to the present.
I had doubts in my physical ability to curate/run this exhibition. After my solo exhibition in July my health was badly challenged. I was concerned this would happen again. But, it has been a week since the exhibition opening, and I am reasonably okay. I was able to sit in a car, to meet a friend at the gallery, and to write! I did have support at the IWA for this exhibition, and I didn’t had to create any new work, other than the notebooks, but a lot of organising and overseeing still came down to me. 

Listening to the speech by Grace O’Sullivan last week  (see youtube link below), and talking to other visitors to the exhibition, I realised how this exhibition is actually a logical step in my own journey:
To bring awareness that we are more than wheelchairs, we are more than our illnesses. We still own our personalities from before illness or disability changed our lives. And even if our personality changed because of an acquired brain injury, we still have our place in the world. Yes, we don’t occupy the same ‘space’ in society as before, but does that make us any less equal?
For those who have a disability from birth, they have as valuable a space in our society as anybody else. Unfortunately, this is not how we are often treated.

People talk over our heads. Decisions are made for us. Not by us. We are at times treated as toddlers. This saddens me beyond words.

Ann and Corina Duyn after setting up the Dis-ability ... This Ability exhibition
Ann and Corina after setting up the exhibition 
In my own case, yes I use a wheelchair, or a mobility scooter, or walking sticks. Sometimes I can walk for a  short distance. I wobble when I walk. Sometimes am I well, sometimes I am not.
But I am still the person who worked as a volunteer in a cultural centre as a teenager; studied and worked as a nurse, as social care worker and as self-employed artist. And who, years after becoming ill, had several solo exhibitions and published four books; as well as completing a year of disability studies, and guiding the Life Outside the Box Puppet Project. All while living with limited energy, dealing with several challenging conditions within my body, use speech-to-text software to write, a brain does not always function as I would like it to be… And that is just the tip of iceberg of living with M.E.
But I am still me!

Last week Grace O’Sullivan said - while looking me straight into my face - that I don’t accept my dis-ability: “You are absolutely motivated and have a strength of character, and are on everyone on case … you are setting the bar high. We as a nation in Ireland, are a bit of ‘cap-in-hand’. You won’t settle for that. Keep pushing the barrier!”
Grace also raised the point about the need to have people with disabilities visible in the community. “Everyone in our community is the richer for it if we can live in harmony with each other … as shown here, there is no such thing as dis-ability.”

So, with this exhibition, with Grace’s talk, with the encouragements from visitors to the exhibition and through social media, to readers of my books and blog, friends new and old, I am catapulted into trusting that I am on the right track within my own development.

That I have to keep on traveling and exploring the road life’s circumstances has brought me on: to share my views about life with illness/disability with the wider public. To speak up for others who might not have this capability. To highlight our Abilities!  For the way I see it, we have many!

Thank you for coming along on my exciting journey.

Now I will rest, and I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to Grace O'Sullivan, and that you will visit or share the exhibition.

Best wishes to you all.




Anna, Ann and Karen pleased to be finished setting up the show.



See Puppet Blog for more images and abstract of talk etc.
See my website for My art and books and SHOP.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The unlikely questions a new tapestry can bring forth …


'Tree of Life' Tapestry in the making
© Corina Duyn 2016
I seem to create one tapestry a year. I finished my last tapestry - Autumn Joy - just before my July exhibition. During the past two months or so I have been playing with ideas for this year’s weaving adventure.
A tree.
Life.
The Tree of Life.

I mashed together images of trees, drawing of female body, photographs of birds and roots. Literally a case of cut and paste on computer, but also with paper, scissors and glue.

Thank goodness for the arrival of my friend and weaving teacher Pascale De Coninck, to put the warp threads on my tapestry frame. A job I find tedious, and exhausting. She can do it in her sleep- it seems. I gladly supply drinks and food in return!

Desing for 'Tree of Life' Tapestry
© Corina Duyn 2016
I had drawn my design on the warp threads, sorted some of the colours and set up the frame in my study. 
And there it stayed. Untouched for many weeks.
I had other matters to attend to, like the CAP Awards and the planning and designs for the Dis-ability This Ability Exhibition.

A few days ago, I was surprised- again- that it only takes one 20-minute session to become addicted to weaving

First twenty minutes of weaving
the 'Tree of Life' Tapestry
© Corina Duyn 2016
After that first session, I woke up the following morning with the excitement a child would have for its birthday or the arrival of Santa. “I can weave today!”
I would glance into my study where the frame is attached to my desk. Butterflies in my stomach.
One of the biggest challenge is that I can only weave for twenty minutes at the time, to avoid my back screaming at me to stop. I weave for four or five songs or meditation music. But I love it all the same.

Anyway.
I was so excited that I “What’sApp’d” a photograph to Pascale (the one who got me addicted), to say I had finally started the actual weaving.
The following day - following more images of progress, a discussion arose about the work on hand.
I have a habit of creating an image I like, but not really thinking about the whole story behind it. That seems to comes later. The true artist Pascale is, always challenges me about my designs, and how on earth I am going to make what I designed. This time it was no different..

I was congratulated about starting, and that I am good at it - only had done a few centimeters ....  The question, “How are you going to do the tree?” followed within the one text-message.

'Tree of Life' Tapestry-straight lines ...
© Corina Duyn 2016
My reply: 
“…as yet, no real idea how to do tree...! But going to keep the background simple (as it is now). Straight lines as the focus is on the tree.
However, when I typed 'straight lines' I paused. I wonder if that is really true..?"

Response: “You can guess where my mind went: when I read you paused and questioned whether 'straight' lines was true I thought you mean as opposite of 'gay' lines? Then chuckled and wondered what gay lines would look like. Then obviously they are wavy and bouncy as the word gay = happy, which brought me to literally non-straight lines. 
Anyway. What did you question about straight lines?

Me: 
“Yes, I questioned ‘straight’, then I thought I better write Straight Lines, as one could think it would refer to the word gay. [I am gay].
I rarely weave just back and forth - as you know. I had thought to put in some other beige threads but decided not to yesterday when I started the main background. But when I wrote that to you it surprised me that I stopped typing ... so maybe the background won't be just all the one type of thread woven in straight lines. We'll see!”

Response: 
“Yes, your usual non-straight lines. I was surprised to see the solidness of the background because it's not your usual, almost signature, background. Interesting you stopped when typing! It does look good and yes the tree is the focus with all its curves and the straight background would really give it that contrast and silence to support it. Yet still intriguing you stopped. Using different colours straight lines will give very different effect again. Compromise between what? What is it you want to say with the background?
The interesting thing about weaving is there is no negative space, you have to build every space in weaving, it's not something that just happens because of creating an image...”

See what I mean? I just design something, and then I am challenged with these deep questions. ‘Stuff’ that goes into my brain and won’t leave until it is answered…

My resolve:
"Trying to work it out by writing about it.
I intended for a clean, simple background.
Calmness.
Then I wrote: But in reality does a tree (of life) grow in calmness? It would be disconnected, yet I don't want a busy, filled background. I like the simple lines. Simple colours.
Then to my surprise this came out of my pen: you can only grow if you live in peace...

Might introduce texture, but not colour."

Response:
“Waw!
Yes that is true. You can only grow when you live in peace. That pretty much describes an insight and experience I had in last three days.

It is very true.

'Tree of Life' Tapestry in the making
© Corina Duyn 2016
How will you express peace? With the change in texture and simple stripes? Almost like a soft rippling sea, movement and gentle energy without being overpowering. 

Sounds good, sounds even right. Finding the visual textural woven language for it....
I trust you will.”

Solution:
I changed the very straight lines to a slight rippling effect. Slight variation in texture, but not colour. And to my surprise the leaves of the tree are, as yet, not really green. They have a texture to them. Subtle. Light. Airy.

A gentle growing.
In peace.


Links to pages and events mentioned in this post






Sunday, November 6, 2016

We are the architect of our own identity

sample page from Into the Light- book in a box by Corina Duyn
Page from Into the Light © Corina Duyn 2015

"We may decide that a puma is worth more to us than a caterpillar, but surely we can agree that the habitat is all the better for being able to sustain each."

Stephen Fry - The Fry Chronicles


Coming Saturday 12th November will be the launch of the Dis-ability ...This Ability Exhibition at the Coastguard Cultural Centre in Tramore.

For me, the thoughts behind this exhibition is to take the focus away from the dis- in disability- which means taking something away - to THIS Ability.

I strongly belief that whatever your life's circumstances, you are still You.

You are still able to contribute to society. Albeit in a different capacity, but it does not mean that it has any less value than before disability changed your life.
If you have a disability/ impairment from birth, it also does not mean that you are any less that anybody else.

Dis-ability ... This Ability Exhibition Poster, Tramore Co. Waterford November 2106
Add caption
We all have Potential!
To paraphrase Aimee Mullins: "We are the architect of our own identity".

Please support this exhibition of books, poetry, puppets, paper-art, postcards and painting, to celebrate the creative gems of a diverse group of people! All details and what is on show, please see the Puppet Blog  or the Facebook Event Page 




Other links:

Aimee Mullins brilliant TED talk 
Books available at the exhibition, and online.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Before and After CAP Awards

... one more little bit about the CAP Awards.


Christy Parker- Dungarvan Observer, 7th October.
The Before:

When the shortlist of the CAP Awards was announced, there was quite a bit of excitement in our little town of Lismore, as TWO of it's authors had their books shortlisted, in separate categories.

Well, you know by now that my Into the Light book was shortlisted in Best Non-Fiction 
The other book was Alan Murphy's  PROMETHEUS UNPLUGGED!  in the Best Young Adult Book. Robert Dunbar had reviewed in the The Irish Times: "The poems in Alan Murphy’s third collection, Prometheus Unplugged, exhibit a new assurance... Myth and music chime harmoniously in verses where ancient Greek meets ageing rocker and where the encounters resound with literary echoes."
Our local newspaper The Dungarvan Observer published Christy Parker's Article about the excitement.

The After:


It is quite hearth warming to have made so many new contacts with the other short listed writers, and also with editors, and others who were involved with the event, and to have been contacted by book  and writing magazine publishers.
Thank you all!  It is wonderful to have been acknowledged into this world of publishing. Into the Light indeed!


If you still have an appetite to read more about the awards- here is a lovely review by Book Nanny Bernadette Kearns
"The inaugural CAP AwardsThe calibre of all the books on the CAP Awards shortlists make it clear that many Irish indie authors have taken on board and successfully addressed the issue of quality in their work.... "

This review has a link to all the shortlisted & winners books and where they are available.


All for now.
Upwards and Onwards.



My next event is the Dis-ability ... This Ability exhibition where my books and some of my art are on exhibition. See HERE for more about that.
Opening 12th November at Tramore Coastguard Cultural Centre, at 3pm



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Traveling into other worlds - Dublin!

A lonely sheep on the Vee Gap
The journey to the CAP Awards at Teachers Club last week was varied, to say the least!

After the drive along the misty Vee Gap with Jane, who was my companion, driver and (wheelchair) pusher for the trip, we had a train journey from Thurles to Dublin, followed by a trip on the Luas, and a walk to the hotel.

I was conscious how basic my life is at home. I have a very simple routine, don't see many people, live in a quiet town, a very quiet road. I see a field. Trees. Birds. Little or no noise. No overload of sensations of sounds and smells and sights.
It is kind of nice to be in a totally different environment, especially if I know it is only going to be for 24 hours or so.

So many shops. Noise. Road Works. Busses. People busy going about their day. People in business suits, tracksuits. Buggies being pushed. Blank expressions in some, others deep in thought.

I rested for the afternoon while Jane went out to meet a friend for a museum visit.
At the edge of sleep I did think of the evening ahead. What if I win? I already felt a winner. Being shortlisted for me was a huge honour. But what if I win, what would I say... One of the thoughts was that although writing is seen as a solitairy occupation, working on Into the Light  was the opposite. So many people's energy is in this book. From the emails I received from the authors I quote in the book, to all who supported me along the way. Financially, practically, emotionally... Creating and writing Into the light was a beautiful experience. And it continues to be beautiful.

By the time I had to get up and washed and dressed to go the the CAP Award evening, I would have gladly stayed in bed, watch a movie, or read a book and go to sleep. But I had to get up! The whole reason for this Dublin adventure was the awards event.

Getting entry to the Teachers Club in Dublin, where the event was held, was an adventure in itself.
I had asked in advance if there was wheelchair access. Glad I did! To get in, we had to go to the back of the building via a lane way. Pasted the sausage factory... We didn't see that, but knew we had to look out for number 36. It was dark. The number is handwritten on a dark-ish wall.
When we did find it, I had to make a phone call to the Teacher's Club. We were told that the gate would be opened and to drive in and that we would be met outside. We wheeled in, and found the completely glass outside elevator.

Taigh came down the large metal fire escape and at first didn't see us. (looking for a car). He was wearing a suit, but also a "Russian Hat" one of those woolly things with flaps over the ears. An interesting combination. He unlocked the elevator. A stored trolley was removed. Jane and I went i and were told NOT to press the red button. Taigh closed the door behind us and made his way up the fire escape again. We were wondering if there was any button that we SHOULD press to actually go up a few floors...
As it turned out Taigh had to turn the key from the floor we were headed for. We were moving! Upwards.
Oh I wish I had a video of this event, or even photos. It was quite surreal. A variety of outbuildings at the back of these large houses, huge industrial looking fire escapes. Gates, and this futuristic elevator of which we had no control. We could have been left there all night...

Barry, Aisling and me
We were in!
And were welcomed with open arms. To my delight my niece Aisling and her husband Barry, and Senator Grace O'Sullivan came to celebrate the event with me. Thank you!

As it happens, I did not win, but I am not less proud of having my work considered, and for the amazing comments I received from some of the other writers. I wrote about the actual event at an earlier post here .

Exausted but happy we made our way back to the hotel. Maybe thinking we were in quiet Lismore, we wandered on the road of this lane way.
I thought I heard a truck and quickly directed my chair towards the sidewalk. Jane, thank goodness, pushed me up the sidewalk, as soon after a large recycling collection truck came our way!
I could see the headlines in the follow day's newspapers. "Bodies of two women and a wheelchair found in a Dublin recycling plant..."

The following morning we stopped off at the Hugh Lane Gallery, as it was around the corner. I suggest that if you ever go there to take Jane along. As there is a lot of recent art, she knew a lot of the artist from the time she was in art college. A very entertaining and inspiring visit!

On the way to the Luas and train we had a quick stop at one of those Irish tourism shops. As much green in one shop as you are ever likely to see.

I think - I know - that I prefer the green of the Irish fields!

On the Luas I saw yet another side of life in the big city. Two young women, one of them pregnant and a young man, were talking in that slurred way junkies do. The young man was very kind and concerned for the pregnant girl, whom he didn't personally knew (he asked her name). He advised her to take her scarf and hat off while inside, so not to be cold when out again. He offered Jane his seat.
Three young people living a life so far removed from my own life's experiences. Sad to see. But the kindness of that young man stayed with me as much as the obvious challenges they are facing in their lives.

On the way home in the train, I took the opportunity to rest for a while. To be horizontal. To rest any few minutes I could. I listened to the sounds. Enjoyed the movement of the train. I took a little video of what I saw. Nothing spectacular, but very soothing.


On the Train from Corina Duyn on Vimeo.

I have been resting for most of the week. My body not exactly pleased with the journey, but I am so glad I went. Honoured to have been invited. Touched by the kindness of other writers, of strangers, and of people I know.

Sometimes it is good to just step out of the comfort zone, to challenge the body, and explore the other world. In this case the world of Dublin.

You can Buy a copy of Into the Light Here