Moving house, who’d do it eh? Me! As it turns out, it was a good chance to detox my life of unwanted furniture, books and clothes. Ah, my wardrobe – no matter how many times I clean it out there’s still some lovely things I’ll never part with. I like to tell my friends that I don’t buy clothes, I collect them… But there were a few nice things lingering that I hadn’t yet brought to the charity shop.
So when I heard about the MayFly Clothes Swap at the Exchange I packed my bag of goodies and headed on over to Temple Bar. Cruising through Dublin on a sunny evening reminds me of everything I love about this city! When I rocked up to the Exchange I could see lots of ladies through the window, scouring the jam packed rails. Good work my fellow bargainistas!
Five quid on the door and the idea is that you offload your gear and can then bag yourself whatever you fancy from the rails. There was dresses, jeans, coats, shoes, handbags and jewellery. Some absolute gems and a few ropey bits too… Most of the good stuff went early tonight, girls making off with their bags bursting. I got some cool bounty but was happy to leave with less!
My best find was a pair Katherine Hamnett rose tinted glasses. Sure don’t I always see the sunny side up? By the end of the night the place was scant of threads and MayFly’s Courtney Tyler told me the event had been a success as usual. She runs the Clothes Swap every two months and it’s gained a cult following among Dublin’s fashion savvy. People love something a bit different, Courtney told me.
MayFly of course if well known for it’s quirky recycled accessories, which I’ve seen at various markets over the years. Now they’re sharing a hidden shop inside Se Si and Lucy’s Lounge on Fownes Street Upper. It’s a unique boutique selling artisan jewellery, handcrafted clothes and original gifts. I promised Courtney I’ll check it out as I’m sure MayFly is a great new addition to Temple Bar.
MayFly, Se Si, Fownes Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 / www.courtneydesigns.ie
Monday night I was all set to watch the big match when a mate suggested a trip to the Exchange for an art exhibition. Hmmm… Culture or footie? Footie or culture? I decided to hit the Exchange, with a pit stop at the Bruv’s gaff for a bit of match talk. Quick cuppa under my belt, I made a dash through Temple Bar to see Blurred Boundaries and Bara Palcik’s first gallery show.
Exchange Dublin is a unique gallery space at the more sophisticated end of Temple Bar. Billed as a collective arts centre, it provides an outlet for creative discussion, music, visual arts and performance. Run voluntarily by young people, Exchange Dublin aims to support a culture of community in the city, facilitating collaboration and providing a centre for discourse.
We started with a look at Blurred Boundaries, an eye catching textile and multi media installation created by 45 migrant women living and working in private homes throughout Ireland. The hand stitched textile piece is very striking and celebrates the contribution these women make as active citizens in their own right and as active agents of change.
The quilt is made up of three different scenarios. The top depicting workers at rest – playing cards, meeting friends, window shopping. The middle highlighting the exploitation, discrimination and isolation often suffered by these women. The bottom representing clarity and boundaries – how we can better integrate immigrant workers into our society.
Exchange Dublin is a hub of activity – all the while we were there people were working away at their own creations. Also on display were photographs which are part of the Opening Doors project, a collaboration between the Domestic Workers Action Group and artist Susan Gogan. It features some beautiful insights into the everyday work of those employed in the home.
In the adjoining room, Polish artist Bara Palcik is showing her first ever exhibition. Her paintings are exciting and lively, dotted around the room in groups. Palcik’s use of colour and multi media show a playful side to the new artist’s work. She told me that she likes to get her hands dirty and get really involved in each piece, never knowing how it will eventually unfold.
We found common ground, in that Palcik took up painting and I started writing, as we were both made redundant last year. She said that was the moment her inner artist was released, changing her life completely. The work here represents her transformation, experimental in some places and curious in others. Palcik’s love of her craft is inspiring and wholehearted.
In particular, Palcik is full of praise for the Exchange. She explained the importance of this gallery for an emerging artist like herself, as it opens her up to an audience she wouldn’t otherwise have. Part of that is the joy of seeing others appreciation of her paintings. Palcik plans to study art formally and I’m sure we will see more great work from her in the future.
All cultured out, our next stop was Dakota on South William Street for an InterNations meet up. The idea is to connect ex-pats and non nationals and we got chatting to some very interesting folk. Dublin is more culturally diverse than ever and it’s great to mix with some of my city neighbours. We left with an invite for Italian food, new friends and a big smile on our faces.
www.exchangedublin.ie / Exchange Dublin, Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2