ARTIST Áine Andrews has created a series of batiks in her studio in her home in Crosshaven. Batik is the art of decorating cloth using wax and dye. It has been practised for centuries in Indonesia, where it is an ancient tradition.
Áine retired from Gaelcholáiste Choilm, Ballincollig, in 2013, where she worked as an art teacher. Since then, she has worked as a portrait artist, specialising in painting portraits from old photographs.
However, Áine has always had a grá for batik. She created a lot of batik while attending art college in the 1960s and taught the craft to her secondary school art students.
“Batik has long been a favourite of mine and my Leaving Certificate students,” says Áine.
“It takes a lot of time. Time was something I was short of during my working years.
“All the years I taught batik, I thought that, one day, I would like to work on a series of batiks myself. Two years ago, I was out walking around Crosshaven and I decided that I would start working on my own collection.”
Áine finds batik relaxing and often has to remind herself to leave her work and take a well- earned break.
“Batik is very engrossing,” she says. I could sit for hours working on a batik and not notice the time passing. I listen to the radio while I work or I play an audiobook. It’s really important that I get up and go for a walk because otherwise I could sit in my studio all day working on a batik.”
In creating her batiks, Áine draws inspiration from the landscape. She walks daily around Drakes Pool, Templebreedy and the woodland near her home in Crosshaven. The winter trees around the area provide the bulk of her inspiration.
“I have always loved the sculptural shapes of trees, the bare branches with the winter light slanting through them. The trees provided a lot of inspiration for my work. I took a lot of photographs of the branches and when I looked back on them when I got home, I realised they would make lovely batiks.”
Áine is showcasing 12 of the batiks she has created in an exhibition called Siúlóidí, meaning, ‘walk about’.
She says: “Because I was teaching in the Gaelscoil in Ballincollig, we decided to give the exhibition an Irish name because I’ve always had a link with the Irish language.
“The name Siúlóidí suits the exhibition because I went on many rambles in nature, which lead to the creation of the batiks that will be displayed.”
The exhibition is running in Cronin’s Pub, Crosshaven, until June 4.
Cronin’s Pub is a family run business. Joleen Cronin is responsible for marketing it and has a keen interest in artistic and cultural events.
“It’s nice to showcase the work of local artists, like Áine, because they are part of our community here in Crosshaven. Showcasing her art and the work of local artists is a way of giving back to the community,” says Joleen.
The seaside pub is known for its lunch and dinner seafood offerings and is also included in the Michelin Guide to eating out in pubs.
Joleen says: “It’s a really nice experience for our customers to look at an artist’s collection of work. Every artist brings their own personality and inspiration to their work.
“Each time someone comes into our pub, there is a different atmosphere, depending on what art is displayed.”
The pub and restaurant host exhibitions of local artists on a regular basis. This summer, they are planning a number of other cultural events, including a supper theatre evening with Hysterical Histories on June 24.
Joleen is also keen to hear from other artists who have a collection of work that they would like to showcase.
Áine believes it is important for people to nurture their creativity. She says: “When I finished teaching, I gradually came to the realisation that I am an artist. I rediscovered my love for at. When I was teaching, I thought of what I was doing as a job. It took a little time to believe I was an artist.
“When you are working and life is busy, it is difficult to find the time to nurture your individual creativity.
“I would encourage people to try to find a little time for themselves in order to satisfy their creative needs.”
If you are an artist and would like to exhibit your work at Cronin’s Pub, contact Joleen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.