Peadar Lamb, whose insurance on his studio had lapsed, said it was like “starting from ground zero” such was the extent of the damage caused to his workspace in Monard Glen, Co Cork, following a fire on March 19, in which his work materials, tools, and equipment were destroyed, along with original and irreplaceable drawings and sketchbooks, archive materials, and works in progress.
Some of Peadar’s finished pieces spanned almost 30 years.
All bar one of the hundreds of drawings he did when designing a large stained glass window for the Irish Reparatory Theatre in New York were destroyed. Peadar said the only surviving drawing of the window was a charcoal sketch he had given to the theatre’s director.
Peadar’s partner, Debbie Dawson, said it had been “devastating sifting through the remains, finding scraps of charred drawings, melted glass, broken and twisted pieces of metal that were once fundamental elements in his creative practice, now completely destroyed”.
Debbie, also an artist, said the hardest part to deal with was “the loss of sketchbooks and completed projects and ideas for pieces yet to be realised”.
“While materials, tools and equipment can be bought again, these can never be replaced,” Debbie said.
Debbie was in Dublin with Peadar on the night he received a phonecall to tell him his studio was on fire. He had been attending the opening of an exhibition in the Solomon Gallery, Westbury Mall, in which some of his work was on display.
“We got a phonecall around 9.30pm to say the studio was up in flames,” said Peadar. “We were having a drink in a pub at the time. We hopped on the next bus back to Cork but we didn’t go out to the studio until the following morning. I was numb when I saw what happened.”
Friends and acquaintances rallied around and Peadar was offered workspace in both the National Sculpture Factory in Cork city and the Sample Studios on Sullivan’s Quay. He is currently utilising both spaces.
He said it has been hard to remain positive in the face of the scale of his loss.
“I couldn’t really put a value on it,” he said, adding that “what wasn’t destroyed by fire was destroyed by water”.
Peadar, who has also designed pieces for the National Maritime Museum and the National Museum of Ireland, had planned to leave some of his sketchbooks to the latter. He has work in both public and private collections in Japan, Bahrain, Denmark, UK, and the US.
Peadar’s friends have started a fundraising campaign to get him back on his feet and a fundraiser takes place on Friday, May 8, at the Angel Bar in the Cork Opera House, beginning at 8pm.
Donations can be made online at info61975.wix.com/peadar-studio-appeal, or by searching for ‘Peadar Lamb Studio Appeal on Facebook.