Japanese Braiding in an Irish Prison

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January and February of 2017 saw visiting artist Mary Timmons begin an art project in Cork Prison, Ireland. Mary worked alongside the craft teacher, Lorraine Higgins, to introduce the new skills of reverse applique and Japanese Braiding to the students.

“The project began with the idea of making a piece for the Irish National Exhibition ‘Humans Sharing Spaces’ exhibition in March 2017. The idea was met with great enthusiasm from the students as they worked hard to brainstorm ideas, design their pieces and create beautiful works of art using these newly learned techniques”, said teacher Lorraine Higgins. “The standard of work was extremely high and learners decided to showcase their piece in a handmade wardrobe which would become a part of the art itself. The final piece was called ‘Explore; A Prisoner’s Perspective’.

Due to the high standard of work produced each learner was also able to achieve a Level 4 accredited QQI Certification in Textiles. Students were also given the opportunity to develop art portfolios for college during the scheme making use of visiting artise Mary Timmons’s expertise.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to explore the medium of textile art and proved to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience as well as a great sense of accomplishment.”

Article & Photos by

Lorraine Higgins

Cork Prison, Ireland