The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage

Siun Carden

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    The garment we now recognise as the Aran jumper emerged as an international symbol of Ireland from the twin twentieth century transatlantic flows of migration and tourism. Its power as a heritage object derives from: 1) the myth commonly associated with the object, in which the corpse of a drowned fisherman is identified and claimed by his family due to the stitch patterns of his jumper (Pádraig Ó Síochain 1962; Annette Lynch and Mitchell Strauss 2014); 2) the meanings attached to those stitch patterns, which have been read, for example, as genealogical records, representations of the natural landscape and references to Christian and pre-Christian ‘Celtic’ religion (Heinz Kiewe 1967; Catherine Nash 1996); and 3) booming popular interest in textile heritage on both sides of the Atlantic, fed by the reframing of domestic crafts such as knitting as privileged leisure pursuits (Rachel Maines 2009; Jo Turney 2009). The myth of the drowned fisherman plays into transatlantic migration narratives of loss and reclamation, promising a shared heritage that needs only to be decoded. The idea of the garment’s surface acting as text (or map) situates it within a preliterate idyll of romantic primitivism, while obscuring the circumstances of its manufacture. The contemporary resurgence in home textile production as recreation, mediated through transnational online networks, creates new markets for heritage textile products while attracting critical attention to the processes through which such objects, and mythologies, are produced. The Aran jumper’s associations with kinship, domesticity and national character make it a powerful tool in the promotion of ancestral (or genealogical) tourism, through marketing efforts such as The Gathering 2013. Nash’s (2010; 2014) work demonstrates the potential for such touristic encounters to disrupt and enrich public conceptions of heritage, belonging and relatedness. While the Aran jumper has been used to commodify a simplistic sense of mutuality between Ireland and north America, it carries complex transatlantic messages in both directions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015
    EventTransatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions - Liverpool , United Kingdom
    Duration: 13 Jul 201516 Jul 2015

    Conference

    ConferenceTransatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    CityLiverpool
    Period13/07/201516/07/2015

    Fingerprint

    Transatlantic
    Crafting
    Heritage
    Tourism
    Ireland
    Clothing
    Pursuit
    Natural Landscape
    Marketing
    Mutuality
    Knitting
    Idyll
    Religion
    Kinship
    Reclamation
    Recreation
    Reframing
    Primitivism
    National Character
    Corpse

    Keywords

    • Cultural Heritage
    • Tourism
    • Migration
    • Irish Studies
    • Textiles

    Cite this

    Carden, S. (2015). The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage. Paper presented at Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions, Liverpool , United Kingdom.
    Carden, Siun. / The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage. Paper presented at Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions, Liverpool , United Kingdom.
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    author = "Siun Carden",
    year = "2015",
    month = "7",
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    Carden, S 2015, 'The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage', Paper presented at Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions, Liverpool , United Kingdom, 13/07/2015 - 16/07/2015.

    The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage. / Carden, Siun.

    2015. Paper presented at Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions, Liverpool , United Kingdom.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    TY - CONF

    T1 - The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage

    AU - Carden, Siun

    PY - 2015/7/15

    Y1 - 2015/7/15

    N2 - The garment we now recognise as the Aran jumper emerged as an international symbol of Ireland from the twin twentieth century transatlantic flows of migration and tourism. Its power as a heritage object derives from: 1) the myth commonly associated with the object, in which the corpse of a drowned fisherman is identified and claimed by his family due to the stitch patterns of his jumper (Pádraig Ó Síochain 1962; Annette Lynch and Mitchell Strauss 2014); 2) the meanings attached to those stitch patterns, which have been read, for example, as genealogical records, representations of the natural landscape and references to Christian and pre-Christian ‘Celtic’ religion (Heinz Kiewe 1967; Catherine Nash 1996); and 3) booming popular interest in textile heritage on both sides of the Atlantic, fed by the reframing of domestic crafts such as knitting as privileged leisure pursuits (Rachel Maines 2009; Jo Turney 2009). The myth of the drowned fisherman plays into transatlantic migration narratives of loss and reclamation, promising a shared heritage that needs only to be decoded. The idea of the garment’s surface acting as text (or map) situates it within a preliterate idyll of romantic primitivism, while obscuring the circumstances of its manufacture. The contemporary resurgence in home textile production as recreation, mediated through transnational online networks, creates new markets for heritage textile products while attracting critical attention to the processes through which such objects, and mythologies, are produced. The Aran jumper’s associations with kinship, domesticity and national character make it a powerful tool in the promotion of ancestral (or genealogical) tourism, through marketing efforts such as The Gathering 2013. Nash’s (2010; 2014) work demonstrates the potential for such touristic encounters to disrupt and enrich public conceptions of heritage, belonging and relatedness. While the Aran jumper has been used to commodify a simplistic sense of mutuality between Ireland and north America, it carries complex transatlantic messages in both directions.

    AB - The garment we now recognise as the Aran jumper emerged as an international symbol of Ireland from the twin twentieth century transatlantic flows of migration and tourism. Its power as a heritage object derives from: 1) the myth commonly associated with the object, in which the corpse of a drowned fisherman is identified and claimed by his family due to the stitch patterns of his jumper (Pádraig Ó Síochain 1962; Annette Lynch and Mitchell Strauss 2014); 2) the meanings attached to those stitch patterns, which have been read, for example, as genealogical records, representations of the natural landscape and references to Christian and pre-Christian ‘Celtic’ religion (Heinz Kiewe 1967; Catherine Nash 1996); and 3) booming popular interest in textile heritage on both sides of the Atlantic, fed by the reframing of domestic crafts such as knitting as privileged leisure pursuits (Rachel Maines 2009; Jo Turney 2009). The myth of the drowned fisherman plays into transatlantic migration narratives of loss and reclamation, promising a shared heritage that needs only to be decoded. The idea of the garment’s surface acting as text (or map) situates it within a preliterate idyll of romantic primitivism, while obscuring the circumstances of its manufacture. The contemporary resurgence in home textile production as recreation, mediated through transnational online networks, creates new markets for heritage textile products while attracting critical attention to the processes through which such objects, and mythologies, are produced. The Aran jumper’s associations with kinship, domesticity and national character make it a powerful tool in the promotion of ancestral (or genealogical) tourism, through marketing efforts such as The Gathering 2013. Nash’s (2010; 2014) work demonstrates the potential for such touristic encounters to disrupt and enrich public conceptions of heritage, belonging and relatedness. While the Aran jumper has been used to commodify a simplistic sense of mutuality between Ireland and north America, it carries complex transatlantic messages in both directions.

    KW - Cultural Heritage

    KW - Tourism

    KW - Migration

    KW - Irish Studies

    KW - Textiles

    M3 - Paper

    ER -

    Carden S. The Aran jumper: Crafting a Transatlantic Heritage. 2015. Paper presented at Transatlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions, Liverpool , United Kingdom.