Dr. Helen McAllister

PhD

Head of Applied Materials

Helen McAllister’s practice is rooted in Embroidery, that now positions the materiality and process in the Applied Arts. The practice has been a constant dialogue between the shoe–derived form, historical Venice, and the crafted artifact outcome. The work investigates notions of the narrative, symbolism and metaphor that are interdisciplinary within the maker discipline, through Design processes and thinking with that of Material Culture. The engagement with the viewer and the ‘display’ of the made artifact propels the work in new contexts, having new audiences and new teaching situations.

Dr Helen McAllister ANCAD | MA | PhD

Head Applied Materials Department  
School of Fine Art | National College of Art and Design | 100 Thomas Street | Dublin 8

email:http://mcallisterh@staff.ncad.ie

Education

 

2006                PhD Practice-based Design - (Embroidered textiles)

                        National College of Art and Design, Dublin Ireland

 

1999                MA Design – (Embroidered textiles)

                        National College of Art and Design, Dublin Ireland

 

1986               ANCAD – (1st Class) (Embroidered textiles)

                      Commendation in History of Art & Complementary Studies

                      National College of Art and design, Dublin Ireland

 

1987              Diploma / Cert. History of Art & Appreciation

                      Trinity College Dublin

 

1981              Foundation Studies in Art and Design

                      Distinction

                      Rupert Stanley College of Further Education, Belfast     

 

 

Teaching Experience

 

2014-present         Head of Department, Applied Materials

                              National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

2009-2014            Head of Department, Fashion and Textiles

                             National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

2014                     Coordinator, Masters of Design

                             National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

2005 – 2009         EPL, lecturer (textiles), Education

                             National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

1989– 1991          Part Time Lecturer, Textile Embroidery 2nd

                             National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

1991 – 2009        Part Time Lecturer, Education - Textiles 2nd 3rd 4th yr / Post grad.                               Dip  National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

1997 – 2003        Part Time Lecturer, CEER (CEAD)-(established embroidery evening .                          class)

                            National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

1997 – 2002        Part Time Lecturer, Core /1st yr

                            National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

1998 – 2004        Part Time Lecturer, Fashion & Textiles - Embroidery – 2nd /3rd yr

                            National College of Art and Design, Dublin

 

 

1997 – 2000        Part Time Lecturer,

                           Dundrum College of Further Education – Embroidery – portfolio yr

 

 

Professional Experience

 

2011-2014       External Examiner, Textiles Undergraduate program

                        G.M.I.T. Galway Ireland

 

2013-2017       Judge, Golden Fleece Award

                        Helen Lillas Mitchell Trust, Dublin Ireland

 

2016               Judge, Feltmakers Ireland

 

2010-2013      Judge, RDS Craft Awards, Mixed Textiles Media | Textile Print

                        RDS, Dublin Ireland

 

2013-2017      External Examiner, Textiles Undergraduate program

                       St. Anne’s College, Sligo Ireland

 

2009              Peer Review Panellist, QA Undergraduate Degree program

                      London College of Fashion. London England

 

 

Special Projects

 

2012             Innovation Voucher

                    Polio Society Ireland

                    Brief - User First – Knitwear fashion Range / Collection for those with                            restricted  mobility and wheelchair users. Collaboration w/ Cathy                                     Mooney

 

2016           Then and Now Fashion Event

                   Project Manager,

                   Venue, Chocolate Factory, Dublin

                   Fashion event included current TAA students /Alumni from the course and                 Staff

                   Performance and video with catwalk collections –

 

Grants/Fellowships (Awards, Honors etc.)

 

2011           An Post | Crafts Council of Ireland Collaboration Stamp Collection

 

2007           Helen Mc Caffrey Award

 

2002           The Golden Fleece Award, Overall Winner

 

1986           Taylor Award, RDS Craft Award

 

                   Baby Gro, Textile Design Competition

 

1985           Kilkenny Travel Award

                 

                                   

Exhibitions

 

2017          Shoe making Kit (travelling show)

                  Knit & Stitch, Olympia, London

                  Knit & Stitch, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

2016         Adaptations

                 OPW Gallery, Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin

 

2015         Shoe Making Kit (solo show)

                 R-Space, Lisburn, Co Down

 

2014        Interlace

                National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny

 

2013       CultureCraft – Culture in the Making (UK City of Culture)

               London Street Gallery, Derry

 

               Art & Style

               Brown Thomas window, Dublin

 

2011      Goldilocks and the Bears

              Dalkey Castle, Dalkey, Co Dublin

 

              An Post | Crafts Council of Ireland Collaboration

              Year of Craft Stamp Collection

 

 2007       30 Something

                Embroidery Artists Biannual Exhibition, Dalkey, Co Dublin

 

 

Commissions

 

1990                                         Octopus’ Garden Restaurant

                                                 Blackrock, Dublin

 

1986 - 2005                             Private commissions

                                                                       

 

Collections     

Professional Organisations

                                                     

 

Current           Design and Crafts Council of Ireland member

 

Current          Venice in Peril member

 

Current          Belfast Natural History & Philosophical Society member

 

1990 -2008   Embroidery Artist Group

 

 

 

International Academic Conferences

 

2017          Crafting Education | iJADE

                  NCAD/ Dublin Ireland

                                                                      

2015          Making Futures (on-line publish.)

                  Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth, UK

 

2013           More for Less | Cumulus (on-line publish.)

                   Dublin Ireland

 

                  Knowing (by) Design (published)

                  Sint-Lucas, Brussels

 

                   Design Learning for Tomorrow | DRS/Cumulus (published)

                  Oslo, Norway

 

                  Objects n Focus | N.G.O.A.A. Seminar

                  Dublin Ireland

 

2009          Art of Research | University of Art & Design (online publish.)

                  Helsinki, Finland

 

                  Communicating (by) Design | Sint-Lucas (published)

                   Brussels, Belgium

 

  2008          Love Objects; engaging material culture | D.R.G.

                    National College of art and design, Dublin Ireland

 

                    Ars Textrina | Conference (publishe

  2007           University of Ulster, Belfast

 

                     Arts/Humanities Research Systems (published)

                     Baden-Baden

 

2006           Wonderground | Design Research Society (published)

                    Lisbon, Portugal

 

                    Common Threads N.G.O.A.A. Seminar (published)

                    Dublin Ireland

 

 

Publications

 

2018             Iterations – Design Research & Practice Review Issue 6 Feb

                     Institute Designers Ireland

 

2013             CultureCraft - Reclaim | Repurpose Catalogue Introduction

                     UK City of Culture Derry

 

2012             Textile Surface Manipulation | Co-Author with Nigel Cheney

                     Cheney/McAllister, Bloomsbury London

 

2007             Craft Criticism | Stopress Nov/Dec Issue

                     Crafts Council of Ireland

 

Visiting Artist Lecture / Guest Speaker / Workshops

 

1990 – 2018      Ballyfermont College of Further Education

 

                          Sallynoggin College of Further Education

 

                          Coláiste Íde

 

                          Patchwork Society

 

                          Irish Guild of Embroiderers

 

                         Feltmakers Ireland

 

                        National Gallery of Ireland

 

                       (Design &) Craft Council of Ireland

 

                       Embroidery Group – Dunbar, Scotland

 

 

http://www.helenmcallister.com

Artistic Practice
Artistic work has always been visually inspired by Italy and in particular Venice resulting in small to large wall hangings. For a number of years this created a ‘recognisable style’, but questioned the need to ‘re-brand’ the practice.  The completion of a MA Design (embroidery) shifted the work from ‘decorative’ outputs to that of an in-depth inquiry of Venetian 16th Textiles and ‘Chopines’ with 3D outputs.  The artistic practice formed a platform to question notions of a creative practice, the made art artefact and the interdisciplinary of the field of study resulted in the completion of a practice based PhD (embroidery).

Themes and Influences

The research inquiry questioned the fundamental definition of what constitutes a pair through shoe-derived forms.  Prown states that ‘artefacts are in addition to their intended function, unconscious representations of the hidden mind’. This seemed particularly apt when considering the recognizable, iconographic object of the shoe. Research has been grounded in the practice of making art artefacts, dovetailing with Venice for visual, historical, and societal themes. The artistic practice has come from textile processes and discursive thinking that now locates the work in the field of Applied Materials. 

The ‘pair’ is still the vehicle to question duality, identity and materiality; reflecting on the made and its manufacture, aligning meaning to making and private to public engagement. Venice has been the single most important influence not only for visual references but as a metaphor of a carefully ‘crafted’ creation of itself that conveys complex duality and dichotomies.  Venice, as an ‘entity’, has allowed investigation of pairs, pairings, binary oppositions, of duplication, counter praxis and co existing duality of tensions and torsions.

The shoe form narrates, becoming portrait and protagonist. Often misconstrued as an object of adoration, therefore superficial in meaning, belies a more complex relationship, even perverse, where the shoe form conveys different meaning from interactive wearing with that of passive gazed upon artefact.

Current work focuses on the shoe making process in a large body of work called the ‘Shoe Making Kit’, this reflects on a brief historical moment that saw female makers and sellers of shoes.  The ‘Shoe Making kit’ series also conjures up the secret hordes, the fetishism of collecting and coveting such objects.


(PROWN & HALTMAN (2000) ‘American Artifacts; essays in material culture’ (edited) Michigan, Michigan State Unv. Press Page 13)

http://www.helenmcallister.com

Selected Exhibitions:

    2006  ‘Containment’ Final PhD presentation N.C.A.D


    2007  ’30 Something’ Embroidery Artists Biannual Exhibition, Dalkey


    2011  ‘Year of Craft’ – C.C. o I, An Post Stamp


    2011  ‘Goldilock and the Bears’ Dalkey Castle, Dalkey


    2013  ‘Art & Style’ BT’s window exhibition, Dublin


    2013  ‘Culture Craft’ exhibition, Derry


    2014  ‘Interlace’ C.C.o I


    2015  ‘Shoe Making Kit’ R-Space Lisburn (solo show)


    2016  ‘Adaptation’ O.P.W Gallery,Farmleigh,Pheonix Park, Dublin

    2017  Knit & Stitch .Olympia, London.Edinburgh

    http://www.helenmcallister.com

International Papers Presented:

2006  ‘Common Threads Seminar’ N.G.o A.A. Dublin.Ireland . (published)


2006  ‘Wonderground’ Design Research Society, Lisbon.Portugal. (published)


2007  ‘Arts / Humanities Research Systems’ Baden-Baden (published)


2007  ‘Ars Textrina Conference’ Univercity of Ulster. Belfast (published)


2008  ‘Love Objects; engaging material culture’ D.R.G.,  National College of Art and Design.Dublin.Ireland


2009  ‘Communicating (by) Design’ Sint – Lucas, Brussels (published) 2009  ‘Art of Research’ Univ. of Art & Design, Helsinki (on-line publish)


2013  ‘Objects in Focus’ Seminar N.G. o A.A. Dublin 2013  ‘Design learning for Tomorrow’ DRS/Cumulus, Oslo (published)


2013  ‘Knowing (by) Design’ Sint-Lucas, Brussels (published) 2013  ‘More for Less’ Cumulus, Dublin (on-line publish)

2015  ‘Making Futures’ Plymouth College of Art (on-line publish)

2017 (open call submission for)  Alive. Active. Adaptive. DRS (EKSIG 2017) Cumulus .Univ. of Technology, Delft / Rotterdam, Netherlands

http://www.helenmcallister.com

Prizes / Awards:

1985  ‘Kilkenny Travel Award’
1986  ‘Baby Gro’ textile design competition
1986  ‘Taylor Award’, RDS
2002  ‘Golden Fleece Award’ (1st winner of this prestigious award)
2007  ‘The Helen McCaffery Award’

Membership:

Crafts Council of Ireland
Venice in Peril
Design Research Society

Archive Custodian:

‘The Kerr Shoe Collection’, NCAD

Website:

http://www.helenmcallister.com

  • Shoe making kit exhibition 143

    Shoe making kit exhibition 143

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    Robertmclean robtakephoto.com 20141124 0041

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    Img 2660

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    Adaptation ireland 16 50