Wexford artist and fashion designer Richard Malone goes down on the farm to research new work

The artist and fashion designer Richard Malone.

Maria PepperWexford People

The London-based Wexford fashion designer and artist Richard Malone was invited to take part in a month-long research residency at the Blackbird Cultur-Lab which is based on a working farm in Foulksmills.

Richard is in the process of developing a new body of work that includes the study of natural dyes and clay along with collaborative dance movement.

Last weekend, he showed some of the work in progress during an informal public event while talking to Karla Sanchez, director of the Cultur-Lab and answering questions from those in attendance.

The annual Spring Research Residency offered by Blackbird was developed to give time and space to professionals to explore links between different areas of knowledge and activities involved in their practice, with the aim of helping them to develop new ideas.

The format of the residency designed for Richard included studio time and encounters with other creatives, scientists and students – a session with Vivian Brody Hayes dealt with movement; Sinead O’Gorman of Cow House Studios covered harvesting and learning about wild clay; he spent a full day building with clay with Elaine Harrington; artist David Begley gave him a lesson on harvesting and using natural materials to make ink; with Luis Lopez Sangil he learned about soil from a scientific point of view; he took a tour of Kelly’s Hotel art collection; paid a a visit to Cushendale Woollen Mills; met children in Wexford Educate Together primary school and explored experimental dance with Philip Connaughton.

Richard is an award-winning fashion designer and multi-disciplinary artist who grew up in Ardcavan, Wexford. His work work includes sculpture, spoken word and textiles and explores themes of queer identify, class, rurality, ritual and the limitations of language in exploring complex ideas or emotions.

He is the recipient of many accolades including the International Woolmark Prize and  the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Industries and was named as one of the BBC’s Most Important Young Artists in the UK (under 30) an.

His work can be found in prestigious collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Central Saint Martins Museum and Study Collection and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

Blackbird Cultur-Lab is located on a working farm at Haresmead, Foulksmills and provides an environment for farmers, artists and academics to experiment and work beyond traditional boundaries.

The not-for-profit organisation seeks to promote cultural exchange and a better understanding of the connections between the soil,  land, environment and people’s lives through seasonal programmes such as research residencies, dialogue sessions and children’s workshops.

For more information about the go to www.blackbirdcultur-lab.com.