In 2016 when World Design was taken to Brazil by Apex Brazil (the government's export promotion agency) to work with the handcraft sector, I attended a symposium of their top 100 craft producers and was amazed to come across a group making Irish Lace. They told me that 150 years ago, an Irish nun came to Brazil and taught her community the art of Irish Lace making, which thousands of artisans have continued to this day. It struck me as a deeply profound story which demonstrated cultural links between the two countries and I promised them I would do what I could to raise awareness about their craft.
Many of you will have seen the lace work that was brought back and I told the story far and wide but no-one seemed as fascinated as I was! Last year, on my return to Brazil to work with artisans in the North East, meeting with serval groups of Lace makers again, it renewed my resolve. When I got back to Ireland, I finally got an audience with the Brazilian embassy and after several meetings convinced them that this was a story that they should pursue and support.
They contacted the governor of the state of Sergipe where the municipality of Divina Pastora is located, home to thousands of these artisans. We managed to convince the Irish Ambassador to Brazil to visit Divina Pastora to give the artisans recognition by Ireland. Well, they were delighted and received him like a head of state, videos on our Instagram highlights.
As a result, we have now the pleasure of hosting the governor and several of the artisans to come to Ireland! We hope that they find cultural and economic links to support and encourage the work they do. We are very proud to have been able to have such fruitful outcome from a promise made seven years ago and hope you get the opportunity to see the exhibition.
Mansion House, Dawson St, Dublin. November 23rd 2023, 11am till 3pm.