Laura McCafferty

Shape of the Place

Shape of the Place

artist residency May - June 2022

exhibition 24 June - 2 July

Laura McCafferty

Laura McCafferty’s current practice combines paper collage, drawing and large-scale textiles in brightly coloured, boldly patterned cotton. Sitting on the edge of narrative, this work subtly messes with what’s expected. Often using repetitive  processes, the act of making innately assumes great importance. Whilst admitting the absurdity of the tasks, she remains unashamed by the joy invested in her labour. Cutting, sticking and piecing together, one thing leading to another, she describes her making process as both purposeful and futile. 

The residency at Art Arcadia gave Laura the space to unify scattered ideas, bringing elements together while simultaneously letting it unravel. Over the course of the residency, she unearthed the significance of place in her practice, seeing it as something that underpins the research; its substance moving between a response to the space, a disconnection to a place or her relocation to the North West after twenty years. Exploring these new yet familiar surroundings through shape, colour, pattern and process, Laura brings it closer to its surface. Shape of the Place finds its beginnings in a new rural context; through walking and searching, she seeks out incidental peculiarities. From 2020–2022 Laura used paper collage to reimagine found patterns in new colourways with repeated motifs, using the organic shapes to bring a sense of motion to the work. 

The time at Art Arcadia gave Laura the opportunity to realise this body of work which consists of a growing collection of photographs, paper collages and quilted textile panels.  Laura completed three new works including forwards\backwards/forwards – a five and a half metre wide textile version of six collages made in 2022 from leftover strips of paper. The piece is made to fit the space, yet at the same time block a section of it off – the colours seem random and the diagonal strips of cloth are wider than in previous works. The softness of the textile is in contrast to the rigidity of the paper collage work. For Laura, forwards\backwards/forwards is a way of going back to go forward, resuming motion in all directions. STRUT is a wooden construction holding four  quilted textile panels. You are invited to imagine four bodies holding these panels up as they attempt to fall down. pop-up is free-standing, and can move from place to place and appear where it wants, when it wants. The viewer is invited to move around the works to see things from all sides. 

Laura McCafferty is originally from Derry, Northern Ireland and now based in Donegal. She moved to Nottingham in 2000 to study Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2003. She established a studio-based practice making textile artworks using appliqué, screen-print and hand embroidery. Exhibiting nationally and internationally gaining  widespread recognition, her work is part of both public and private collections. In 2012, Laura completed an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University, London, graduating in 2016 with Distinction. Until 2020 she was Associate Lecturer in Fine Art  at Nottingham Trent University and a trustee of UK New Artists. Returning to Ireland in 2020 to take up the role of Public Programmes Curator at CCA Derry~Londonderry, Laura now situates her art practice in Donegal and the North West. @laura_mc_cafferty

This residency is in partnership with St Augustine’s Heritage Site and is funded by Derry City & Strabane District Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.



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