A new solo exhibition entitled ‘Resurface’ by Convoy-based textile artist Deborah Stockdale is currently being showcased in the Mezzanine Gallery, Artlink Fort Dunree – with free admission daily from 10:30am-4:30pm up until 25 July 2022 as part of the Earagail Arts Festival. 

The new exhibition revisits themes and techniques Deborah explored in the years between 2000-2015, shown together with new work from Spring 2022 as we began to emerge or ‘resurface’ from isolation and the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on natural objects, some at a microscopic level, Deborah’s colourfully painted, marked and stitched textile work explores organic imagery from diatoms to blossoms, from minerals to tidal zones. 

Martha McCulloch from Artlink introducing Deborah Stockdale to the exhibition visitors

Specialising in textiles that include quilts, banners and wall hangings, Deborah Stockdale has exhibited internationally – with several commissioned artworks also on permanent display throughout the North West. She is also a creative and technical associate of Conflict Textiles NI (a collection of textiles exploring human rights & justice) and her commemorative textile on the late Nobel peace laureate John Hume is currently on public display in the Ulster University Magee Campus Library, which includes a necktie donated by his wife Pat shortly before she passed away on 2 September 2021. 

For the new ‘Resurface’ solo exhibition, Deborah explains how she explores natural structures & forms, and uses microscopic images of plants, animals and minerals for artistic inspiration: 

“We are surrounded by incredibly dense and complicated biomes (areas of our planet such as rainforests or woodlands with similar climates, landscapes, animals &plants) which affect every phase and process of our life on Earth. So, in a very real sense, this artwork and new ‘Resurface’ exhibition is a celebration of that complex network.  

“My artwork is also characterised by textural embroidery and stitching.  The images are painted, marked and drawn on fabric, which gives the colourful background.  Then the pieces are layered, stitched together and hand stitched and embroidered.  The surfaces are dotted with small knots and stitching which give the pieces a 3 dimensional texture and depth, the knots make small shadows as well, and the eye follows the lines of coloured threads to create a second complex structure on the surface of the pieces.  Hence, Resurface! 


“Importantly, after two years of isolation and the coronavirus pandemic, we are also now tentatively returning to normal social and family life, and so it is like we are all coming back to the surface after being in hibernation or retreat for a long time.” 

Deborah added: “For ‘Resurface’ I have chosen to look at some of my older work and then to use it as a springboard to create eight new pieces in the last two months – re-addressing the original theme and structures. Essentially, it is therefore a reflection of my past work, and hopefully a starting point for an entirely new collection. 

“Indeed, throughout a lifetime of creating textile art, the quest for me has always been about finding that indefinable ‘zing’ element. The combination of colours that pop out at you, the juxtaposition of textures that makes you want to touch the piece, the shapes that lead the eye from one to another and back again. The substance that creates dimensions, light and shadows. Importantly, this is the essence of what I have been trying to do with my textiles and artwork – and it has been a long journey of a thousand, thousand steps over many years of creative work!” 

Derek Kelly, Rose Stockdale, Ciara Kelly, Deborah Stockdale and Rachel Stockdale

Artlink Project Co-ordinator Martha McCulloch added: “Deborah’s exhibition has woven together a web of people we have worked with and been working with over the past few years. The themes that arise in this body of work echo our ongoing exploration of ecology and the use of science as a catalyst for creative output.” 

‘Resurface’ by Deborah Stockdale will be showcased at Artlink Fort Dunree up until 25 July 2022 with free admission daily from 10:30am-4:30pm.For further information visit artlink.ie email info@artlink.ie or telephone 0838696513 / 0864532428.