Lurgan artist’s ‘willow wedding dress’ is an unbridled success

A wedding dress 'Christmas Tree' by Lurgan artist Dwyer McKerr
A wedding dress 'Christmas Tree' by Lurgan artist Dwyer McKerr

Lurgan artist Dwyer McKerr doesn’t normally make wedding dresses but his latest creation has become a sensation.

At a special special exhibition at Portadown’s St Mark’s, called Church Unveiled Wedding Dress Festival - Dwyer’s unique dress has become a hit.

Lurgan artist Dwyer McKerr

Lurgan artist Dwyer McKerr

It is a spectacular design made of willow, carefully crafted on a mannequin and beautifully draped in ivy and red and white roses.

Organised by Mrs Helen Orr, wife of St Mark’s minister Rev William Orr, he explained: “On display are 28 exhibits each carefully and creatively put together by parishioners and church organizations.

He added: “The exhibition tells the story of God’s love for His people right from Creation to the present day, culminating in a spectacular wedding dress depicting the bride i.e. the church awaiting the returning Jesus. There has been a lot of support for the exhibition from the local community. Many of the charity shops and town centre businesses have loaned mannequins, supplied dresses and flowers.

“On display are exhibits displaying dresses through the decades all loaned by parishioners - one from 1920/30s, a World War 1 display and a wedding dress made from willow designed by Dwyer McKerr .

“The Church has been buzzing with atmosphere while all the folk gathered to put together their exhibits, this has set the scene for what is a great effort by all.”

Dwyer (49) admitted it was his first foray into sculture having spent the last few decades painting and teaching art.

Dwyer, who is chairman of the Shore Collective, a group of artists from Mid Ulster and beyond, praised Pascal Downing of Lough Neagh Discovery Centre for helping to source the willow at Oxford Island.

The Lurgan man, who through a project with Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, helped set up a number of Mens Sheds in the borough, was delighted when Portadown’s Mens Shed asked him to help.

Within the Shore Collective Dwyer is involved with scores of artists locally and teaches in their Mount Zion House studios and in the community. “This area is coming, for all the size of it, is coming down with great artists and musicians,” he said, adding that he has a new exhibition with Bleary artist Jan Powell at the Engine Room gallery in Belfast.

The Church Unveiled is at St Mark’s Portadown from Thursday 15thand Friday 16th 12am to 9pm; Saturday 17th 10am to 6pm and Sunday 18 1pm to 5pm.