Youth Arts Residency Blog- What’s in a Face

3 mins read

What’s in a Face

with threadstories

In September, myself and two groups of young people from the Drum Youth Centre and Ossory Youth Club in Kilkenny City began meeting weekly for a couple of hours. I introduced them to the artwork I make, my processes, what inspires my practice and they had an opportunity to try on some of my masks. As a hands-on introduction to how I work they began with material manipulation which is at the core of my practice. Taking one simple material, in this instance paper and trying to manipulate it as many ways as possible.


We continued over the following couple of weeks responding to other artists work who use the body or portraiture as a component of their art practice. I  introduced the group to artists whose practices interest or inspire me from a variety of disciplines. They looked at the work of  Amy Cutler, Alma Haser, Laura Callaghan, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Maria Lassig, Paula Rego, Nina Chanel Albany, Sally O Rourke, Frida Kalho, Hannah Hoch and Annegret Soltau.


We discussed how a portrait conveys something of the internal and the external of the sitter and looked closely at the variety of materials and scales these artists employ in their artwork. We investigated symbolism as a tool to convey meaning in an image and brainstormed stuff that they as a group and as individuals are interested in. We teased out influences in society that shape their appearance, such as music, fashion and social media trends.


The young people have so far worked with different methods to create  portraiture or images that are symbolic of themselves through drawing, stitch, collage. The element of transformation as at the core of each session. The next phase of the residency will be about channeling all this research into a portrait, the shape this will take is still in play.


About the Artist

threadstories artwork questions the erosion of personal privacy in our digital age and its effect on how we view and portray ourselves online. Her practice layers traditional craft techniques, performance and photography. She uses these media to investigate visually the influence new technologies and social media are having on our relationship with the image of the face – our own and others.

threadstories exhibits nationally and internationally, with work in the collection of The National Museum of Scotland, and various private collections. Winner of The Progressive Vision Curtin O’Donoghue Emerging photography prize at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2020. Her work has been featured in print publications Dazed, Love, New York Times Style magazine and more. threadstories collaborates with fashion houses, filmmakers, dance and music artists on commissioned pieces of wearable art.



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