Artist Interview - Joe Hogan

April 27, 2010

Website interview with Joe Hogan, one of the Curators of Draíocht’s current Exhibition,
'European Baskets', In association with The Crafts Council of Ireland
Fri 9 Apr - Sat 29 May 2010 // DRAÍOCHT, GROUND FLOOR GALLERY // Free Admission // Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm

Joe Hogan

Brief Introduction:
This exhibition features work by almost 80 of Europe’s leading basket-makers in materials ranging from wire to willow and includes both contemporary, sculptural work and traditional techniques. Visitors to the gallery will see how the work varies hugely from country to country, as do the materials. Curators Joe Hogan (Ire) and Mary Butcher (UK) are passionate about exposing people to these wonderful, age-old techniques.

Sadly, when the old basket makers die, so too will their traditional baskets,” says Hogan. “But as well as looking back, we are focusing on cutting edge contemporary work and that space in between, which most basket makers inhabit, creating professional, functional baskets.”

This exhibition was produced by the National Craft Gallery in 2007 and is touring to a number of venues in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Joe Hogan is a traditional basketmaker and teacher who lives and works in Clonbur, Co. Galway. Joe has written a book ‘Basketmaking in Ireland’ and has a website

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?
A: I live at loch na Fooey between the villages of Clonbur and Leenane, on the the borders of Connemara and west Mayo but I am originally from Caltra in east Galway.

Q: When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up? Were there any clues in your childhood that you would follow an artistic path later?
A: I am not sure I have followed an artistic path but no, there were no clues that I would become a crafts person. In fact I was not very skilled with my hands when I was young, at least in relation to my brothers but there was a general atmosphere of fixing things in the household.

Q: How long have you been basket making and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career?
A: I have been making baskets since 1977 and working full time at it since 1978. I originally went to university in Galway to study for an arts degree in history and philosophy and met my wife there. We wanted to live in the countryside and I thought basketmaking would provide a reasonable stable income and turn a rural location into an advantage. I feel it is very important to like the work you do .

Q: Can you tell us more about the skill involved in basket making and what inspired you to write your book ‘Basketmaking in Ireland’?
A: The basic techniques in basketmaking are reasonably quick to learn. Absolute beginners can make baskets but the shape may not be very uniform. When I give workshops for instance most participants will make 2 to 3 baskets over a 4 day period but it takes much longer to perfect the techniques so that each basket comes out the shape you want it to be. I think one could be improving in this area always and it is the constant repetition of techniques that brings one closer to perfection. 'Basketmaking in Ireland' came about a result of my interest in the traditional baskets of Ireland and as many of the designs are unique to Ireland I realized I should record these techniques for the future.

Q: When did you create your first basket and what was your inspiration?
A: 1976 or 1977, I was drawn to basketmaking because I was also interested in growing willow which is the basic raw material for the baskets I make.

Q: Do you grow your own materials or do you source some materials from abroad? Is there a lot of other equipment needed for basket making?
A: Yes I grow my own willow but I also buy in some willow for teaching as the willow I grow myself is harder and therefore not ideal for people beginning basketmaking. You need very little equipment for basketmaking, at a pinch a knife will do.

Q: Has your style changed over the years and what might have influenced this change if yes?
A: Yes my style has change a lot in the last 10 years as I have become more interested in making non functional  work. This change is perhaps a result of a desire to express a sense of belonging to the earth through the work.

Q: What other artists or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?
A: I read a good bit of nature poetry by poets such as Mary Oliver, Rilke, Wendell Berry and Seamus Heaney for example.

Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?
A: I enjoy the work I do so its easy to stay interested but I also like gardening and walking so can have variety if I need it.

Q: How have you handled the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your work etc?
A: I find the business side a bit difficult at times but have been fortunate to have had a good bit of exposure so can usually sell my work fairly easily.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about the exhibition ‘European Baskets’ currently on exhibition in Draiocht?
A: This exhibition aims to give a snapshot of basketmaking in Europe so it combines very traditional work - like the Scottish Kishies made by Ewen Balfour for example - with very artistic work and we have also included a wide range of functional work with various uses.

Q: Do you have any advice you could give to an artist just starting out or to someone interested in taking up basket making?
A: It is not a particularly easy field to get into so one would need to enjoy the work itself to compensate for the difficulty of learning the skills.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I try to live in the present moment!

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts,

Online Booking Fees Reduced!

April 20, 2010

We've reduced our Online Booking Fees from €4.70 per transaction to €1 per ticket.
We regret having this fee but unfortunately there are security and bank fees associated with online card purchases.

You can book tickets online here:


Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

NEW EVENT: Meet the Author – Darren Shan

April 14, 2010

Don't miss the latest addition to our Youth Arts programme, where you can Meet the Author – Darren Shan.
Taking place on Friday 30 April, in our Main Auditorium, from 10.30am-11.30am (followed by book signing), this event is suitable for anyone aged 11+ (5th & 6th class groups or other fans not in school!). This is a free event but must be booked in advance at Box Office, tel: 01-8852622.

Darren Shan brought vampires to a whole new audience with The Cirque du Freak series, which sold in the millions and was made into a movie last year. He then wrote about werewolves and demons in the ten part Demonata, which began with Lord Loss. He is now an international phenomenon with sales of approximately 15 million copies. His new book, ‘The Thin Executioner’ is a stand alone fantasy novel. As you would expect from Darren Shan, master of horror, this is no ordinary fantasy. It is the unusual tale of a boy who wants to be an executioner when he grows up.  Come along and hear Darren talk about his books and his inspiration.  You can ask him a question too - if you dare....

Book now through Draíocht’s Box Office on 01-8852622

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Youth Arts,


March 23, 2010

Draíocht is offering rehearsal space FREE of charge to professional artists/performance companies from 26 July to 04 September 2010. 
There will be 3 spaces available (Main Auditorium, Draíocht Studio and Rehearsal Room). 
Spaces can be viewed on our virtual tour facility ...

As interest may outweigh availability, please write/e-mail:
Emer McGowan
Dublin 15

Direct Line: (01) 8098027

with the following information (no more than 2 A4 sheets double spaced)

1)      Name of company and/or artists involved
2)      Concise details of the project to be rehearsed and if there is/are performance(s) scheduled
3)      Dates that the rehearsal space is required and if there is flexibility within those dates
4)      Which space you are interested in using
5)      How the piece is being funded
6)      Benefit of free rehearsal space to the success of the project

Closing date for receipt of information is:  14th May 2010

Offers of space will be made at the end of May/beginning of June 2010

Draíocht is generously funded by Fingal County Council with additional funding provided by the Arts Council.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artistic Collaborations,

Draíocht’s New Artist in Residence Garvan Gallagher has started ...

March 12, 2010

Draíocht’s New Artist in Residence Garvan Gallagher has started (on 1 March 2010) and will stay with us until the end of June 2011, our first ever 15 month residency.Draíocht’s staff officialy welcomed Garvan with tea and buns this week and he showed us some of his past work.

Image: Garvan Gallagher /  ‘Sarah McGill, 1911’, Photography, 2008

Garvan will develop his own personal practice along side engaging in a specific community engagement project in the areas Youth Arts, an 'intergenerational' project involving young people and the elderly in Dublin 15. The residency will result in a solo exhibition of Gallagher’s personal work and a concluding exhibition for the Youth Arts Project to be held during the period of Spréacha, Fingal’s Annual International Arts Festival for Children, in 2011.

Gallagher’s practice is primarily through lens-based mediums, photography and film, frequently centralizing a single figure within a specific environment. His work often references the social body and investigates how society shapes people as human beings, as well as engaging with the fundamental issue of how trust comes to be mutually constituted between artist and subject.

Stay in touch with Garvan on his website and blog and see some of his past work: 

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Garvan Gallagher,

‹ First  < 64 65 66 67 68 >  Last ›