Christmas: connect and create with Extraordinary Ordinary Women

Extraordinary Ordinary Women

by Una D’Arcy

The launch of a colouring book became a wonderful celebration of women in rural Westmeath and the significant and unseen support they offer each other through thick and thin.

Artist Teresa Doyle took the opportunity to thank the many community groups that she has been involved with over the years including the Women’s Projects in Mullingar, the Healthy Club group and the Action Group in Collinstown, the Active Aging Group in Coole and Westmeath Artists.

Speaking about the many workshops that she facilitated for these groups over the years, Teresa told those gathered that she always took away more than she brought so rich was the experience of working with the women in these groups.

As you get older, it’s like the higher up that mountain you have climbed, so that when you look back down, you can see and appreciate all that you have experienced. It was a great and wonderful experience to work with these groups over the years.

Teresa also thanked her neighbours and friends; women who showed great kindness to Teresa over the years and helped her when her children were young and she needed them ‘minded’ to allow her to work.
The support of Community Development in Westmeath was also praised by Teresa; especially the mentorship provided by Westmeath LEO, Westmeath Community Development and Elizabeth Kerrigan in Westmeath County Council.

The Colouring Book contains drawings of Teresa’s hand made dolls and are accompanied by little sayings and reflections. They are the curation of a set of drawings Teresa made in October 2018 when she participated in the internet artists community global project Inktober. The book was launched by sculptor and visual artist Mel French.

“These colouring books are wonderful. And what I love the most about them,” Mel said at the launch, ” is that not only is there no obligation to stay within the lines but that they are an aide memoir. The background is blank so that you can add your own story behind them. Draw in where you believe these women would be at home. Write in how the drawing makes you feel. Import a photograph or create a collage of memories. These drawings are conversation starters and they draw to the front of your mind memories that were on their way to being lost or forgotten.”

Mel described Teresa as an artist of great talent that had created her own tangible visual language that understood and presented the vibrant and special lives that make up rural Ireland.
“I first met Teresa a few decades ago when we were members of WAM, Westmeath Artist Movement. I had seen her work in the library in Castlepollard. It was sculptures made with a group using found and recycled materials and it was so impressive. I am a sculptor and always looking at the mediums used to create visual art. As artists we are trying to communicate our ideas. Create a language. Over the years I have watched Teresa create such a vibrant tangible language that is so recognisable now as her message and her language.”

I first met Teresa a few decades ago when we were members of WAM, Westmeath Artist Movement. I had seen her work in the library in Castlepollard. It was sculptures made with a group using found and recycled materials and it was so impressive. I am a sculptor and always looking at the mediums used to create visual art. As artists we are trying to communicate our ideas. Create a language. Over the years I have watched Teresa create such a vibrant tangible language that is so recognisable now as her message and her language.

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