Thursday, March 25, 2010

Patchwork Classes with Abbeyknockmoy ICA

Tonight was this group's 3rd patchwork class. Liz arrived with her block already pieced together! Gold star for enthusiasm!


Brid quickly completed hers soon after.

Patchwork Classes with Abbeyknockmoy ICA





The group worked together on the colours chosen by Annette and Phil who couldn't attend tonight and soon we had 7 finished blocks and one almost there! A sample ICA logo was used to help us get an idea of the central block, which we need to tackle next. We might still swap the blocks around until we are happy with the layout. We still need to add sashing between the blocks and a border in ICA colours. But the group achieved a lot tonight. For most of the group members this is their first attempt at patchwork. Pretty impressive work I think!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

West Awake: Galway Traditions

The Western Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society holds an exhibition every two years and the next one opens on 1st May, 2010 at the Galway City Museum. The exhibition is entitled 'West Awake'. I was thinking about this and wanted to do something that celebrates something unique to Galway.
When I first arrived I walked the Salthill promenade with a friend and laughed when she told me I had to kick the wall at Blackrock as 'it's the tradition' I thought she was joking me but then I stood and watched as almost everyone who walked to this point gave the wall a kick and turned around to walk back in the direction they came!
Despite asking many people about it, the only explanation I seem to get is 'it's tradition'! And so, with camera and tripod in-hand I spent a morning at the wall, asking people if I could photograph 'the kick'. Lots of people joked with me on the day and were curious to find out what I was going to do with the photos.
I've printed a number of these onto fabric to make up a wall-hanging and I will stitch into these further and I think I will quilt in some text as well. I hope to finish this in time for the exhibition in May.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Textile Art Forum Update

Day 4 of the Textile Art Forum residential at Ballyduggan Cottages.
On Thursday I took a walk up 'The Old Town Trail' at the back of the cottages. The 360 degree view from the top was lovely looking down on the lake, back towards the Mourne mountains and on to Downpatrick. I walked back through the Sally Gardens.
Then back to work stitching!
The photo above shows the variety of muted shades of 'Colour-catchers' I have collected from the household laundry and just have to include in stitch projects because they are so nice!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Textile Art Forum Update

Day 3 of the Textile Art Forum residential at Ballyduggan Cottages:

'Buttermilk Cottage' was full of nooks and crannies. This photo was taken from the hallway, through a little window into the kitchen and across to the outside window. Jan's tulips from Amsterdam sit in a jug on the windowsill. The cottage windows were so nice I took loads of photos into and out of them!

I spent the day experimenting with different media (Clear gloss, clear semi-gloss and white matte precoat Inkaid's) painted onto different fabrics (bleached cotton, unbleached cotton and linen). Once these were totally dry I printed onto them using a standard inkjet printer. I then washed the pieces to see how 'fast' the colours remained. This was a good day's work as I learned a lot about the media, the fabric and the printer so that I will know what to use depending on the effect I hope to achieve for future design-work.
The photo above was a sunset over the stone-walls on Inisheer in 2009.

The photo I printed here is of the stone walls at home in the snow with thorny brambles.

The photo here is of my stone walls again at sunrise.

And here they are again at sunset with the sun shining through the walls.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Textile Art Forum Update

Day 2 of Textile Art Forum Residential at Ballyduggan Cottages:
I wanted to work on creating individual 'stones' instead of embroidering/quilting onto a whole-cloth piece as I've been doing lately. I hoped to create a more airy, lighter piece.
I used some 'colour-catcher' swatches I have been saving from my household laundry (because I hate to throw them out as they always seem to be such nice random dyed pieces!). They varied in colour from grey and blue to pink but they reminded me of my stone-walls at home when the sun hits them at different times of the day.
I joined them together by stitching through the spaces between them on water-soluble fabric.
Jan donated some light pink organza for the background, which was just what I needed for the 'floaty' effect I hoped to achieve. I added a foil moon and used the bare branches of the hedge outside my window as the inspiration for my stitched patterns.
The whole piece went into the bath to dissolve the water-soluble fabric as you can see in the photo above! Then I hung it out to dry on the line before lunch!
I like the way it floated about in the breeze, with the lovely stone cottage in the background for the photograph.
This was a satisfying experimental piece to work on.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Textile Art Forum Update

Day 1 of Textile Art Forum residential at Ballyduggan Cottages
The theme for the current series of work by the Textile Art Forum is 'deconstruct/reconstruct'.

My current work is based on the dry stone walls in the West of Ireland. I love these temporary-looking structures which can be easily dismantled and rebuilt. Yet they have stood for years, keeping livestock contained in the fields, marking boundaries between farms, providing habitats for native plants and animals, etc. I like the fact that the these walls were built with the stones found in the fields when they were clearing the land for farming. It was a practical 'make-do and mend' solution to use the materials available on site to build walls.
As well as my contemporary wall-hangings I'm also 'recycling' scraps of fabrics into a colourful quilt. Most of these fabrics are cut from old clothing or left over from other projects so in the spirit of 'make-do and mend' I am making something new.
We discussed eachother's completed pieces and our work in progress and confirmed our plans for the collection of work for 'Make it New' our exhibition which opens at the Lakeland Quilt Festival, Ballyjamesduff Museum, Cavan in September 2010.

With our initial discussions completed and following a lovely shared was time to take a walk down Lake Road to see my surroundings. I photographed my walk and was inspired by the light of the setting sun through bare branches, the reflections of the swans in the lake and the sight of colourful boats through the rushes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Patchwork Classes with Abbeyknockmoy ICA

2010 sees the ICA celebrating its centenary. To mark the occasion, the Abbeyknockmoy ICA group decided to make a patchwork wall-hanging. I met with the group to discuss what kind of work they wanted to do and they decided to make a wall-hanging where each of the 8 members of the group would choose their own colours to make an 'Ohio Star' block. A central block will be made with the ICA logo and ICA colours will also be incorporated in the hanging. On 11th March the group began their first class. They learned how to measure and cut the pieces required to make each block. For most of them this was their first time using rotary cutters, rulers and self-healing mats. With a bit of practice they all grew in confidence and were looking forward to the next stage....learning to piece the blocks in class 2 on 18th March.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Textile Art Forum Update

Ah! What could be better than a whole week in a beautiful cottage in Downpatrick, near a lake, looking towards the snow-capped Mourne Mountains with nothing to do but eat, sleep, share ideas and be creative? Maybe 2 weeks of the same!
I'm just back from my residential week with the Textile Art Forum, where 4 of us lived and worked towards creating new work for our upcoming exhibition 'Make it New'. The work will be exhibited first at this year's Lakeland Quilt Festival in the museum at Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan in September, 2010 (

I have loads of lovely photos from my week at Ballyduggan Cottages ( and I will post them over the coming days and weeks here and on the page. The photo above (thanks Jan for catching me absorbed in my work!) shows my lovely little workspace at the cottage beside the fireplace.

Right now, I have a lot of catching up to do at home! I'd better start by putting away all the stuff I brought with me to Downpatrick!