Thursday 14 April 2011

Creative writing for designers

What do you get when you mix creative writing skills, Dylan Thomas and an, (after hours), empty building that houses an eclectic mix of designers?

Eleanor Flegg, who is a journalist and an editor of the Irish Arts Review, has been giving monthly creative writing classes to some of the designers in The Design Tower. The idea of the class is to improve our ability to write well about craft and design. Each month there is a reading of a craft essay from published work, which is then discussed by the group. Future topics include press releases and artist statements. The class have greatly enjoyed Eleanor's course and found it to be really beneficial.

Goldsmith Se O'Donoghue from Da Capo jewellers shares the following piece which he wrote during the class. It is inspired by the docklands area and the building in which he works.

Under Craft Wood
(The Design Tower after Dylan Thomas)

FIRST VOICE (_Very softly_)

To begin at the beginning:

It is spring, moonless night in the small city, starless
and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched,
graffitti'd-and-NAMA'd docks limping invisible down to the
sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.
And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are
sleeping now.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the weavers, the cobblers,
the silversmiths and knitters, seamstress, woodturner,
potter and cooper, the blacksmith and the quilter,
milliner, dressmaker, lacemaker, writer, the callous thumb'd
embroiderer and the tidy goldsmith.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.
Only _your_ eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded
docklands fast, and slow, asleep.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the processional
cold-plunged tempered wind in South Lotts and Misery Hill,
it is the water lapping in the Canal Basin, and
the falling sleep of staggered red poles in Grand Canal Square.

Listen. It is night in the chill, squat Tower, humming with
backstitch and bodkin and bejewelled black, precious bullion and
beautiful brooch; night in the boardroom, quiet as a mouse;
in Seamus Gill's with silver shining black in the dark;
in Roisin Gartlands's with rosy soft leathers,
in Mick DeHoog's with a pause between notes,
and Alan Ardiff's with wit stood on plinths.
It is to-night on Gallery Quay, trotting silent,
With snipped threads on its heels,
along the cockled cobbles, past darkened doors,
text and trinket, violin, headress, watercolours
done by hand, china ladies and bronze bust.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Come closer now.

Only you can hear the workshops sleeping in the Tower in the
slow deep glazed and silent black, annealed night. Only you
can see, in the locked studios, the shopcoats and aprons
over the chairs, the singers and mannequins, the hedgehog pincushions,
inspiration pasted on the wall, and the yellowing fishing-bait
pictures of work-past. Only you can hear and see, behind the
eyes of the sleeping studios, the movements and journeys and puzzles
and colours and dismays and visions and tunes and hopes
and prayers and fall and despairs and big seas of their dreams.

From where you are, you can hear their dreams.