Pioneer might not be quite the right word in writing about Muriel Gahan but she certainly did yeomanlike work in resurrecting and preserving the crafts traditional to Ireland, particularly weaving. What caught my eye in yesterday’s Irish Times was this picture of a painting which once hung in Muriel Gahan’s office at the well-loved Country Shop in Dublin. Muriel and the Country Shop are no longer with us. Muriel was born in 1897 and died in 1995. The Country Shop, a Dublin institution, was founded in 1930. It ceased operations in 1978.
painting which hung in the office of the late Muriel Gahan at the Country Shop in St. Stephen’s Green. It is a large untitled abstract by Evie Hone (1894-1955). Evie Hone is well known to us here in Dundrum. Several of her stained glass windows are in St. Naithi’s Church. She had a studion in nearby Rathfarnham. The estimated price range for the abstract painting to be auctioned at de Vere’s is Euro 25,000-35,000.
Quite by chance yesterday I also found a copy of the biography written about Muriel Gahan. Deeds Not Words, The Life and Work of Muriel Gahan, Champion of rural women and craftworkers, by Geraldine Mitchell. Geraldine Mitchell is a journalist, poet, and biographer. And incidentally, Geraldine is the niece of Lillias Mitchell who was a pioneer in her own right. Lillias, among other distinctions, was a pioneer in the setting up of the Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers in 1975. My memory of Muriel Gahan is of her opening one of the Exhibitions held by the Guild back in its early days. The Guild had a large Exhibition in the Bank of Ireland on Leeson Street and that year it was held in conjunction with the Woodturners. A biography of Lillias Mitchell would be a good sequel to the volume on Muriel Gahan. Lillias was a close friend to many of us in the Guild – she passed away in the year 2000 at the age of 85.