Left to right: Sammy Jo Tyndall, Kristian Dalgarno, Kathrina Wynne, artist Kathleen Moroney and Minister for Health Leo Vardkar at the TYPECAST launch. Image: Ailbhe Murphy.

Minister launches Typecast - ceramic sculptures created by Coolmine clients

The Typecast Project with partners: Create, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Coolmine, funded by Léargas through the Grundtvig Programme.

Mr. Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Health launched the Typecast project with a display of ceramic sculptures created by twenty Coolmine Therapeutic Community clients, as part of their recovery from addiction.

The sculptures named Up & Down, Round & Round – Trying to Reach My Destination are displayed in the Coolmine Centre. The clients worked on them over a twelve week period, in collaboration with artist, Ms Kathleen Moroney, who shared artistic concepts, led workshops working with clay and produced the display of the artwork.

The Typecast project initiated and led by Create the national development agency for collaborative arts, in partnership with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Coolmine Therapeutic Community, in conjunction with the European Lifelong Learning Programme.

Minister Varadkar congratulated the clients on their achievements and said that the innovative collaboration between various agencies had not only identified the creativity of the clients, but also made a valuable contribution to their recovery.

“By complementing the excellent therapy provided by Coolmine Therapeutic Community, Create and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland have given these clients a tangible opportunity to identify their talents in a workplace environment, away from addiction and its consequence. I hope that other agencies will emulate this collaborative approach in the delivery of their services,” he says.

The project is based on the ‘Typecast’ which was instigated by Portraits of Recovery in partnership with the British Ceramic Biennial as a pilot in 2012.

It centres on the use of clay as a medium, material and process, offering an opportunity to artists to work collaboratively with a community in recovery to explore ideas that may stem from the groups’ experience.

This involves an EU learning collaboration across six countries in order to develop and share methodologies, which support artists working with people in recovery from substance misuse.

Ceramic artist, Kathleen Moroney, worked with the clients within the context of substance misuse and recovery, to create a new contemporary collaborative artwork utilising clay.

Kathleen said that some of the works in the collection contained light, some had moving parts, but all of the works united in a permanent display reflecting separate journeys together.

“The clients put their trust in me and in the art process, even when I challenged them to move beyond their comfort zone. Through repetition and time, and the simple act of churning out clay cars, we created a space of trust, where complex personal narratives eventually unravelled and were translated into ceramic compositions rich in metaphor,” she said.

Each client was at a different stage in their recovery, everyone was experiencing something different, change was consistent, acute and cyclic. They worked within the constraints of a six inch clay tile and their stories were restricted to the ‘relevant now’, which was highlighted in coloured underglazes.

Ms Pauline McKeown, CEO Coolmine Therapeutic Community said that communities like ours tend to be invisible.

“By making recovery “visible” through this project via access to cultural opportunity it provides a voice, control over identity and representation, helps overcome psychological access barriers to inclusivity and can help de-construct stigma. We believe that this project has made a valuable contribution in helping to return to a drug-free life,” she said.

Ms Muireann Charleton, the Council’s Education & Innovation Manager said that the project was a journey of discovery about the realities of life for those people in recovery, and specifically how working with clay can open up a sea of positive possibilities in the discovery process. “This was the first project of this nature undertaken by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, and we are privileged to have been involved”.

Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Create: “Create is delighted to support this exciting artists’ commission and to be part of this very important project, which represents a significant EU learning collaboration across six countries.”

This project was funded by Léargas through the Grundtvig Programme, which is part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, focusing on education for adults.

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