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Artists – Tess Leak & Sarah Ruttle

Museum of Making and Mending

Skibbereen Day Care Centre, Clonakilty, Castletownbere, Dunmanway, Schull Community Hospitals and Bantry General Hospital, Care of the Elderly Unit

Artists Tess Leak and Sarah Ruttle were commissioned to curate an exhibition at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre with over twenty participants and staff at Skibbereen Day Care Centre in the autumn of 2016. Following some brainstorming and discussions with staff and those attending the Day Care Centre on Mondays they developed the concept of a ‘Museum of Making and Mending’ to create a collection of poetry, visual art and objects inspired by their own experiences of making and mending things such as bread, clothes and tools.

What began as an eight week project in Skibbereen Day Care Centre has since expanded and the artists have taken the ideas into several other healthcare settings, furthering the ideas and developing the concept, ‘the concept of The Museum of Making and Mending was flexible enough to incorporate a wide range of skills and experiences. The participants and staff brought in things that they had made or mended at home and poems and artworks were made out of the unfolding conversations.explains one of the artists.

The artworks and objects created in the first project were displayed in the James O’Driscoll gallery of Uillinn; West Cork Arts Centre in December 2016 and then went on tour to other healthcare settings in West Cork, being used as inspiration in the making of new work.

The Museum of Making and Mending, re-opened in November 2018 at Cork County Library, County Hall, Cork with special guest Deputy Mayor of Cork County Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley to launch the exhibition.

The hands of the saddler are

black from the wax and

firm from working

the awl and the needles

the straw and the leather

from the making of a horse harness

to the mending of our shoes

clever are the hands

of the saddler



December 2016 – ongoing 2018


“I speak for myself and all of us: you have put on a terrific show today and I enjoyed it immensely. You woke us up!” Participant, Clonakilty Hospital.

Day Care Coordinator Mary Willis who initiated many of the progressive arts projects at the Day Care Centre, concurred with this, ‘It does everyone’s health good to converse and reminisce. This project was great at unearthing some rare objects and evoking creative ideas that got hands moving…it was lovely to see everyone knitting and taking part.’