The aim of the collaboration was to create a series of pins based on the National Gallery’s collection and Ireland’s rich cultural history.
Martha Hegarty, founder of Mink, chose James Barry’s The Death of Adonis (c.1775), Harry Clarke’s The Song of the Mad Prince (1917), James Joyce’s Ulysses and W.B. Yeats’ epitaph as the diverse subjects for the collection. The result is a series of four pins accompanied by a piece of writing on the history and meaning of each artefact.
Martha Hegarty is an Irish designer currently based in London. She holds an MA in Modern & Contemporary Art History and has worked in various creative fields across Ireland, Switzerland, Vietnam & the UK. Mink is a project that began in 2020 and combines a number of her mediums and interests: set design, graphic design and art history.
“I was drawn to the idea of making something that people could wear and walk around with and tell stories about, and I had always bought pins. There’s something appealing about how solid they are; you can have the silliest idea but casting it in metal somehow gives it weight and gravitas. I’ve found that there’s actually a lot you can put into such an unassuming medium. It’s similar to how crafts that are historically seen as feminine or innocuous, like embroidery, can actually have a lot of subversive bite. My background is a mix of theatre design, graphic design and art history so I wanted to create a project that combined all of those things in one place, and something that was totally in my own voice.”
W.B. Yeats gave instructions for his epitaph and final resting place a few months before his death, in the final verse of Under Ben Bulben:
“Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,
By the road an ancient Cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase,
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!”
"This pin is based directly on the engraving of the tombstone itself. The lines come into my head a lot but their meaning is quite slippery: do they encourage feelings of acceptance or withdrawal? Should we daydream more? Or aim for objectivity in both life and death?"
Image: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) (1903) by William Strang
• Soft enamel pin
• Gold plated with black enamel
• 35mm wide
• Embossed with logo
• Two black rubber clutches
• Comes with its own special backing card with story
• Guaranteed good time