About this Piece
St Brigid is the most important of Ireland’s female saints, the patron of healers and midwives. The tradition of weaving her cross from reeds for 1st February, to celebrate the arrival of Spring, continues to this day in rural Ireland. The newly woven cross is hung by the door to protect the home and family.
Designed by Kathleen Smyth.
Dimensions: 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15cm)
The Legend of St Brigid
Also known as St Bridget, she is Ireland's most famous female saint. Born in 450 AD in County Louth to a pagan chieftan and Christian mother, Brigid was named after the Celtic goddess of Spring, fertility, craft, and poetry. She was inspired by her contemporary St Patrick to follow the Christian path, choosing to devote her life to the poor and needy instead of finding a husband. She even prayed for her beauty to be taken away so no-one would want her hand in marriage.
She founded many convents and monasteries throughout Ireland, as well as a school for art. She became a folk heroine, with any miracles, relics, and mythical stories associated with her name. Today, making a 'St Brigid's cross' is an Irish custom at the start of Spring on February 1st - St Brigid's Day, traditionally made out of rushes.
About the Maker
Fellow artists Brian Scott-McCarthy and Kathleen Smyth founded Wild Goose Studio in 1970. Together with other leading Irish artists, they created a unique range of artifacts that take inspiration from Ireland's rich cultural heritage and the contemporary world. Each piece starts with an inspiring thought, an image or an emotion and is given a physical form by their craftspeople.
It all starts with the marriage of an idea or meaning with an image. One of the artists will then carve that image into a sculpted piece which becomes the original from which they create a mold, so they can then faithfully reproduce the image in full detail. The production process itself starts with metal powders such as bronze or cast iron which form the outer surface of the finished piece and the inner is created from a cold cast pouring. Once the piece is set, they polish it to reveal the beauty hidden beneath.
Many of their pieces reflect Ireland's Celtic history, with its stone carvings and evocative language, while others are inspired by contemporary authors, philosophers, and the moments and milestones in life that shape our human experience.