This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Bringing rare Irish fleeces to the Biennale Venice

Bringing rare Irish fleeces to the Biennale Venice

The International Architecture Exhibition at Venice, La Biennale di Venezia, is the world’s leading architecture event, featuring more than 60 national exhibitions from around the world.

So how you might ask did wool from a very rare and native Irish sheep end up here on the world stage for architectural discussion. Well like all great stories it was a journey, and one that Cushendale was very honoured to be asked to contribute to. 

The theme of the 2023 architectural Biennale was ‘The Laboratory of the Future’ and Irelands chosen entry is ‘In Search of Hy-Brasil’ - learning resilience from Irish islander communities for a more sustainable future. A team of five architects were selected to represent Ireland on the basis of an open call, and they are Peter Carroll, Peter Cody, Elizabeth Hatz, Mary Laheen and Joseph Mackey, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.  The Irish entry spoke to the theme through a number of mediums, of which the centre piece was a visually stunning sculpture of Sceilg Mhichíl made from Galway sheep’s wool. 

We were first approached with a question of looking at the possibility of using Irish wool to create a sculpture of an island. It was only when we sat down and worked through the scale of the piece we realised very quickly that this was going to be a lot of wool - a bout 250 fleeces to be exact!

The wool would have to be washed, coloured and teased in order to be prepared for the project, and of course the clock was very much ticking as everything had to be ready well in advance in order to be shipped to Venice for the installation. Needless to say, it was a huge effort yet again from our fantastic, dedicated team here at the mill. Working on projects like this one mean so much to us, they enrich our own outlook as well as contributing to something of much greater value to a national and global audience. 

The story of the native Galway sheep is one which is very similar to the story of our native language, one of decline, and it was extremely apt and appropriate that it was this rare but precious wool which was chosen as the building material for this iconic sculpture. 

Sceilg Mhichíl rises from the Atlantic Ocean like a mythical island, standing firm against natures most powerful forces. Just as our language is at the heart of who we are and where we came from, so too is our natural heritage and our relationship with native wool which goes back thousands of years. 

And so, it was a very emotional day for us attending the official launch of the 2023 Biennale, and to see our precious fleece recognised in this way and making such a powerful contribution.

Read more at the Arts Cuntil of Ireland - here.

Follow Hy-Brasil - here.    




No more products available for purchase