Martina Coyle


Martina Coyle has centred her commission research on the Smyth & Co textile Factory in Balbriggan. This industry was central to the Balbriggan economy for almost 250 years, famous for its silk stockings which were exported all over the world and counted royalty as a client. In later years the factory made a variety of cotton goods and special knitwear to a very high standard using traditional craftsmanship. A special feature of the factory was its skill in stitching and embroidery. The factory is no longer in use and has since been transformed for commercial retail use. While the opportunity for creating something within the space was limited, following conversations with local photographer and ex factory employee, Martina was taken with an image of a bridge, now gone which linked two parts of the building from one side of the street to the other. Martina has been conducting conversations with former workers and researching of decorative stockings from the factory as seen in Collins Barracks.

Martina wanted to reflect aspects of the buildings former presence in the town by recreating this bridge using materials and manufacturing techniques associated with the factory to form a temporary sculptural installation small sewing factory still exists in the Smyth & Co building, the machinists there are collobarorating on the making of this full scale, embroidered fabric bridge. The footbridge is to be constructed with plastic inflatable and clad with cotton, silk, nylon and glass beads then illuminated with ultraviolet light showing the construction while creating an impressive spectacle for Balbrigga