Mark in Action | BallyBoy Design | Siobhan Quinn | Longford

Unlikely Partners! The Fashion Designer & The Blacksmith

Collaboration Project between CIFD and DCCoI

BallyBoy Design was recently asked to take part in a ‘Design Collaboration Project’ being jointly run by The Council of Irish Fashion Designers and The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

The idea behind the collaboration is to put together two designers working in very different disciplines and materials and get them to work together to create a piece reflective of their different skills.

Photo 29-06-2018, 13 46 19

I found myself partnered with Mark Wilson, a Blacksmith and Coppersmith from Mountshannon Forge in Co. Clare. Mark has a rich and well-deserved reputation for a wide range of highly successful collaborative projects with a host of artists down the years, so was the ideal partner for this project. The towns, villages and businesses surrounding his Co. Clare, Mountshannon base, boast many examples of his work and are a powerful testimony to his talent and innovation.

Tools of the trade

A series of creative meetings with Mark, evolved into a design concept for a cape decorated with individually crafted, engraved copper leaves, cut from recycled copper water cylinders. Mark is a great believer in re-purposing and has cultivated an enviable network of salvage yards to supply the raw materials for his craft.

Design in action

We called the piece that Mark and I created ‘A Leaf Falls’ and captured the emotion that we wanted the piece to convey in a simple ‘Haiku’ poem called ‘Autumn’


Leafy autumn

the copper green leaf

gently falls from the birch

Our design is a calf length cape of green lambs wool tweed lined with iridescent shot silk. The cape and its lining represent an Irish field. Running across the shoulders and down the back of the cape is a collarette of cream buckskin leather. Hand-riveted to the collarette using copper roofing nails, are individual, hand cut, anodised green copper leaves, each individually etched with a unique bright copper design. Floating away from the base of the collarette are three single leaves hand stitched to the green tweed.

Mark in actionThe cream buckskin collarette represents a solitary Irish silver birch tree growing in the heart of the field. The season is autumn and the leaves on the tree are turning from green to copper gold and then gently falling to the ground.

Mark and I believe that the unlikely collaboration between a Fashion Designer and a Blacksmith has created a powerful piece, of haunting beauty. I hope you will all agree.

Getting there

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