My gratitude to art journal Paper Visual Art for commissioning me to write a short piece on public art. I chose to explore the extensive artwork on Singer’s Corner, Cork city, designed by Johnny Bugler. Here’s a taste:
“I carry it carefully, the dress I will marry in.
I fold it over my elbow, tucked close to my chest, lift my umbrella, and turn towards the city. Over murky puddles and cobbles I heft it, through laneways and broad streets, weaving through bus queues on Patrick Street, around pushchairs and bikes, through a doorway and over the threshold until I am standing at Singer’s Corner, ready to lift my wedding dress into the arms of another woman. Seamstress. There always was and always will be a seamstress for such ordinary moments as this, always with a mouth full of pins and sideways small talk. Every day, her hands work here, as fabric turns, needles are threaded, curtains are lined, and dresses are slipped onto hangers. I am early. I take my place in the line.
The bell over the door rings and rings, and one by one they hurry in; the first bride-to-be, grown loved and plump, needs her seams let out. The next has sculpted herself whippet-thin, and needs her gown taken in and in and in until the satin skims her newly visible rib, and finally she grins. Beyond the broad window where raindrops roll, puddles are dreaming themselves deeper into pavements, soaking the feet of strangers huddled and hurrying under hoods and brollies. My gaze swivels between the English Market and the cathedral on Washington Street, while pedestrian lights turn green, turn red, turn green again, and each time the road fills with the sound of traffic. Inside the shop, the atmosphere is tranquil. Here, the work hums steadily, as it has for years. If an archaeology of sound could be excavated, the strata of this place might include the whir of fabric, the sigh of scissor blades, the babble of seamstresses, the touch of tongue to thread, the low chatter of weather outside, and the low chatter about weather inside.”
You can read the piece in full here.