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A challenging year for Open Circle Arts, and communities all over the country with lockdowns and social distancing in place for much of the year. Due to restrictions and the effects of Covid – 19 we unfortunately lost access to our work space on the SOS campus. Materials and equipment were put in storage in March 2021 and we continued online with a series of writing workshops with local author Tara Heavey. Many women stayed in touch with members of their group meeting when government guidelines allowed.
Creativity continued in different ways, the Kilkenny Arts Office Knitted Together Project was very well supported by the wider Open Circle community with many women involved in knitting or crocheting squares to contribute to the project and buying the finished blankets in the local charity shops.
We partnered with local organisations and community spaces to continue our creative programme throughout the year. Two series of creative writing workshops ran in the autumn with 19 women in total taking part. We ran a lovely series of weaving workshops with Sandra McAllister in Rothe House supported by Healthy Ireland. Two groups of women, 16 in total at a morning and an afternoon session took inspiration from the wonderful gardens at Rothe House and learned to set up a frame loom to design and make their own individual woven piece.
We visited the magnificent Ross Tapestry exhibition in Kilkenny Castle with two groups and marvelled at the amazing quality and colour of the 15 very large hand stitched tapestries exhibited in the former Butler Gallery space, entranced by the stories brought to life in stitch.
Our Drawing Making Sculpting Chatting full day workshops in Woodstock Gardens and KCAT & the Abbey Meadow in Callan were a huge success bringing many new women to Open Circle exploring the wonders of the natural environment