J Pocker's Production Supervisor, Jane Chambless Wright, moved to rural Ireland last July. She and her husband Brian purchased a derelict schoolhouse in County Leitrim, and over the past year have renovated the old stone building. "Our nearest village is Kiltyclogher." Jane tells us. The Heritage Center in Kiltyclogher dates back to 1820 and houses the collection of artifacts relating to Sean MacDiarmada, Architect of the Easter Rising, who gave his life for the cause of Irish Freedom.
2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Easter Rising - the definitive moment which created todays Irish Republic. Jane and her husband bought the building where Sean MacDiarmada went to school - and found themselves host to quite a few visitors stopping by for a glimpse of Irish History. "We had no idea that this was anything other than an empty building when we bought it online. Because MacDiarmada initially wanted to be a teacher, he spent 14 years in the schoolhouse - which is now our home."
A few weeks ago a generous benefactor of The Heritage Center presented them with an antique print of Sean MacDiarmada in its original vernacular picture frame. The piece dates back to 1917. There is also a piece of newspaper attached to the back of the frame, from January 1917. This paper backing becomes part of the artifact, and must be preserved along with the print itself.
Jane spent several weeks attempting to locate the necessary archival framing materials in Ireland. "Optium Museum Acrylic, 100% cotton rag mat board, Coroplast acid-free substrate - NONE of these are available in this country. I contacted Robyn Pocker in New York, because J Pocker uses only the very finest quality framing materials. I told her the story, and she graciously agreed to provide the materials needed." Jane has told the Kiltyclogher Heritage Center about Robyn's very generous donation - and needless to say, they are thrilled. "The materials are being shipped overseas from New York, and will arrive in the next week or so." Jane says.
Jane has restored the original picture frame, much of which was damaged or missing. "It's a unique piece of vernacular craftsmanship which seems to have been built specifically for this print. All of the frames legs have been individually carved and pieced together with animal glue which deteriorated over the years. I was able to fit the pieces and secure them with archival glue and tiny brass screws to hold everything together again. It's nice and solid, ready for the completed frame package."
Once the project is completed, the restored print and its frame will hang in a place of pride at the Kiltyclogher Heritage Center. It may be the only remaining print of its kind in existence - it certainly deserves to be admired by everyone who visits during the centenary year. A plaque commemorating the generosity and invaluable assistance of J Pocker Framing of New York, and the kindness of Ms. Robyn Pocker in particular, will hang next to the restored portrait print.
"We are deeply indebted to the fine people of J Pocker for making the restoration possible. I can't thank them enough."