Community Artist Profile – Artist and TRASH Fashion volunteer – Naoimh Larkin

1. Can you recall your first artistic experience?

My first artistic experience would have to be when I was very young, making cards, dresses for my dolls, houses and towns for my Barbies to live. When doing my GCSE and A level art I became so involved with my chosen projects, anorexia, dyslexia and my Grandpa’s letters to my Nana when he worked away from home as a Marine engineer. Researching these subjects was so exciting, therapeutic and fulfilling and each project I am involved with allows the inner me to develop.

Naoimh Larkin

2. What motivates you to continue with your artistic activities now?

I cannot image a world without art. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else but art.

What motivates me is that I want art to be my career, and my future. I live, breathe and sleep art. Doing different projects has made me realise how important art can be, whether it is music, drama or art. I have seen first-hand how art helps people and it is the happiness and joy people get from doing different projects which I feel motivates me.


3. How would you describe the work that you are doing now?

My work at the moment is extremely experimental. I have taken an interest in the human body in particular the female form. My drawings I believe have an intimate feel, they are about concealing and revealing parts of the body. I also have a great interest in the abstraction as I believe if you look at something beautiful you can strip it back to something that reveals a greater beauty. I am still searching for a meaning for my new body of work.

I have always had an interest in textiles; I love the idea of being able to feel a piece of artwork. I believe the scenes play a major part in how we view things and textiles gives the viewer that extra sense ‘touch’.

A lot of my textile work is created through screen-printing onto fabrics, however in last few months I have become interested in weave and the idea of creating my own base fabric to work on feels all inspiring. This is where my experimental side has come to life as my interest grows for weave I have learned that I can incorporate many techniques from print into my weaves. At the moment I am particularly interested in the printing technique devore and its effect to the structure of a weave how the wrap and weave fall when one is removed.


4. Are there any barriers which stifle your ability to pursue your career in the arts?

I believe people create their own barriers, which may stifle their ability to pursue their career. For me I believe my barrier is my confidence, which I am trying to work on. I have over the years become more confident in talking in public, giving speeches, leading groups, organizing events and as I mature and with life experiences I believe my confidence will grow as well.


5. You are a community artist – how did your activities in local communities come about?

I have always been interested in people, and their stories. Many of my art projects have been about people I have met. From this I decided I would like some career which I could combined people and art.

I am an art student at the University of Ulster coming into my finally year I was asked to consider what kind of career I would like to look into

I decided to look down the line of community art work. As I have volunteered with different community groups such as Sticky Fingers early years, Barretstown and Windsor Day Care Centre, Clanrye group and Community Arts Partnership.



6. Have you any experiences with Community Arts Partnership – if so could you say a little bit about them

As mentioned previous I was asked to consider a career I would like to go into when I have complete my degree. I researched many careers, such as teaching, community art and art therapy. I came across ‘Community Arts Partnership’ online and became interested in the work they were involved with. I liked the idea that they work with a range of people. After contacting ‘Community Art Partnership’ and asking if I could volunteer, I met Heather Douglas ‘Trash Fashion coordinator’ who took me under her wing and was amazing.

Heather give me small but very beneficial insights into what it is like to be part of Community Arts Partnership and what it is like to work with a range of people using art.

I learned so much from my experience, I learned important facts like being organized, how to arrange a room to facilitate a group, how to plan a workshop, how to keep a group interested, managing money and cost.

I was able to see the amount of commitment and organization that is put into creating these workshops and finalising the end product for example the fashion show.

Not only all this but ‘CAP’ has helped me greatly with my confidence and I was able to see how much fun and happiness people get from doing the workshops. The trash fashion workshops are more than making an outfit, they are about meting new friends, learning, having the craic, laughing, getting to know people, allowing people to escape from reality, allowing children to be children and adults to find that inner child. I would 100% recommend volunteering with Community Arts Partnership as I had a brilliant, fun and enjoyable, messy time.


7. Have you worked in areas of social and economic deprivation and if so any thoughts on the arts in those areas?

Though my experience with ‘CAP’ I have worked in areas of social and economic deprivation, an example would be Ledleyhall and Doyle.

In Ledleyhall and Doyle I took part in Trash Fashion workshops. The Trash Fashion workshops allowed the group to create an outfit out of a range of materials, from fabric, plastic tubing, old clothes and curtains.

The workshops allowed the groups to have fun and escape reality. The workshops also allowed the group to interact with new and interesting people from the area they may have not before known and new friendships were developed.

I feel the workshops are of great importance in areas of social and economic deprivation and help people come together, forget their differences, gives them something to look forward to the end project and fashion show.

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.