Recently, following a link from Imen McDonnell (@ModernFarmette) to a short movie (see here), I was reminded of my past. I studied folklore in college and researched similar topics to that mentioned in the film. The subject of vernacular furniture and storytelling interested me, but I have to admit I questioned the importance of studying the ‘History of the Spade in Ireland’ in my lectures.

Anyway, viewing this short film on the old kitchen dresser reminded me to appreciate again the simple and practical design of the furniture and tools of our past. I’m thrilled to see this film has gained interest amongst many other people. The storytelling skill of Tony Donoghue and his team has created an award winning film describing the emotion as well as the craftsmanship surrounding this furniture. [The award was given at the most recent Sundance festival in Utah.]

Thankfully, a combination of interests, skills and tools has brought this short movie to me, and to many others. The original craftsmen that built the furniture and the people who used it have created the subject, the curiosity and skill of the film makers created the story and the technological wizardry of the Internet, Twitter and YouTube has helped share and distribute this experience to the world. The collaboration of minds in various fields of expertise can be unexpectedly useful to us all.

When I was a student I often combined the teachings of other Departments with my own course of study. I wanted to look at a particular subject from various angles and try to interpret a story to tell from all the resources. In my final year, instead of the usual thesis, I had to create a programme for radio. This was a task that involved using a new medium to share a story.

The digital age today offers many opportunities for storytelling and sharing images. However, I’m beginning to feel a bit like the old kitchen dresser – wondering where is my place – in the kitchen or shed? I’m now getting to the stage of life where I’ll be needing constant up-cycling and repair! Thankfully, the old country kitchen dresser is still appreciated by many and has a role in our modern society. I hope to use this short film to help me appreciate the skill and knowledge of the past and to use the technology of today to create my future. I’ll start with this blog posting. 🙂

Still shot from the award winning short film ‘Irish Folk Furniture’

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