Home is very much where the art has been for Waterford artist/ musician couple Katy Flynn and Chris Falconer over the past eighteen months. The pair spent successive Covid-19 lockdowns working literally from the kitchen table on their individual creative projects but also ‘unofficially collaborating’ to help each other out on projects at a time when they were effectively cut off from the rest of their artistic community.
In the coming weeks, however, they’re coming out of that kitchen, to showcase their work at Theatre Royal Waterford as part of its post-lockdown celebration of Waterford creatives.
Musician Chris, under his alias ‘Waiting Space’, will perform at the theatre on Culture Night, Friday, 17th September, as part of the theatre’s ‘Live at the Royal’ series of gigs while a modular vase from Katy’s environmentally-conscious, handcrafted homeware range ‘HABOO’ will be displayed in the theatre’s vestibule for exhibition ‘Into the Spotlight – a celebration of new Waterford art’, which features art produced in Waterford by eleven visual artists during lockdown.
Both ‘Into the Spotlight’ and ‘Live at the Royal’ grew – no pun intended – from Theatre Royal’s artist bursary Creative Shoots, which was launched last January at the height of lockdown, manager Mary Boland explains:
“The Creative Shoots bursary was, during a very dark time for artists in Waterford, our attempt to provide some support to people trying to sustain their creative practice at home. What we discovered during that process was the sheer volume of talented Waterford creatives who were literally crying out for a way to reconnect with audiences and other artists and so we created these separate opportunities – ‘Into the Spotlight’ for visual artists and ‘Live at the Royal’ for musicians to shine a light on their work, post-lockdown.”
Waterford natives Chris and Katy, who first met in GOMA Gallery in 2016 at a ‘meet other local creatives’ night, took the time and change of circumstances brought about by Covid-19 lockdowns to develop their work in two very domestic DIY ‘studios’ in their home. This allowed Katy to start her own cottage industry design practice ‘HABOO’, inspired by the Waterford phrase ‘go haboo’, used to encourage children to go to sleep. All HABOO pieces are handmade in Katy’s kitchen-studio and her main products are handmade, colourful terrazzo-style homeware pieces - including vases, dishes, candleholders, bowls, ornaments, and more that adopt the fun, kid-friendly patterns she had previously been working with in fashion studios in Ireland, Australia and Spain. Her focus is on producing sustainability-conscious pieces using ‘Jesmonite’ - a design material that is non-toxic, water-based, and is an eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious alternative to traditional resin or ceramic based products. Katy’s pieces are currently available online on www.haboo.ie and, as the design practice expands, she aims to open up a shop and studio in Waterford in the near future.
Chris, during lockdown, began focusing more heavily on his audio-visual project, Waiting Space, creating more musical pieces and accompanying visuals. His work was included in exhibitions and he was also commissioned by galleries to produce musical scores to ‘virtual walkthrough’ videos for when movement was limited during restrictions. “The two of us taking these steps forward together in our individual projects, saw us both begin to submit for artistic and design opportunities, which included the Theatre Royal Creative Shoots scheme”, Chris commented. “These few months later, it is very exciting - especially as the country emerges from the months of lockdown in early 2021 – that both of us have been welcomed by the Theatre Royal to feature in two very different projects being hosted at the theatre.”
* ‘Into the Spotlight – a celebration of new Waterford art’ runs at Theatre Royal until 10th September. Admission is free and the vestibule is open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm. The ‘Live at the Royal’ series of live, inhouse gigs featuring some of Waterford’s best-known and up-and-coming artists runs at Theatre Royal throughout September in partnership with IrishBeats on Beat 102 103, see www.theatreroyal.ie or call the box office on 051 874402 for booking.