Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Galway Local Food & Craft Gift Fair

Here's an event I will be participating in this weekend!
"Galway County & City Enterprise Board, in conjunction with the Galway County and City Councils are delighted to announce the very first Local Food & Craft Gift Fair showcasing Galway designers, handcrafted goods and artisan produce which will be held on the weekent of Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of November in the Black Box Theatre, Galway. Opening times will be Saturday 10am - 7pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.
There will be 40 stands and many of the crafts people will be giving demonstrations of their work throughout the weekend.
There will also be a children's play area and other activities for families.
For more information contact 091 565269, email info@galwayenterprise.ie, see www.galwayenterprise.ie or follow us on Facebook."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Craft in the community: Claregalway & District Day Care Centre

Stencilling on fabric, fabric collage and card-making are just some of the craft skills I've been working on with the clients of Claregalway & District Day Care Centre as part of a project to bring craft skills into the community.
Over the coming weeks I hope to work with the group on a collaborative piece of textile artwork to hang in the centre's reception area. The clients will discuss skills they have learned and skills they have taught over the years. These memories and stories will weave their way into the artwork we hope to create.
Watch this space!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Eye of the Needle: Presentation College Galway

We each view the world differently and all of our experiences help to make us who we are.  ‘Eye of the Needle’ is an exhibition of work created from the imaginations of Junior Certificate students at Presentation College Galway, making notes of their observations in sketchbooks and using their newly acquired skills with fabric and thread.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A visit to the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

I was delighted to receive an invitation to visit the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild (http://www.nipg.org.uk/) as guest speaker at its meeting on Saturday 6th October where my talk was entitled 'In pursuit of inspiration'. I brought along samples of my work through the years, and a photographic slideshow showing some of the workshops and community arts projects I've been involved with.
The guild members were so welcoming I immediately felt at home and I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with them. It's nice to hear what other groups are planning in terms of workshops, speakers, challenges, exhibitions, etc. 'River Fabrics' of Holywood, provided the shop on the day.
Joint chairperson Anne kindly brought me to see St George's Market after the meeting on Saturday where local food and craft producers sell their work. This was bustling and vibrant with some lovely contemporary craft on show. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/stgeorgesmarket/citymarket.asp
We also paid a visit  Space Craft, a gallery of contemporary craft. http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Space-Craft-Belfast-P11814.  I particularly loved the ceramics exhibition by Red Earth Designs http://www.redearthdesigns.co.uk/. If you get a chance to visit do so!
On Sunday the venue for my workshop entitled 'Sketchbooks for Textile Artists' was the wonderful Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra.
Starting a sketchbook is a very enjoyable way to help refine one's own creative style, but can be a little daunting too. I hope I provided participants with the 'tricks' needed to get over any fear they had of those 'perfect, clean, white pages' and soon everyone was enjoying creative chaos with messy hands and ideas flowing. All of us in search of that sometimes elusive thing called 'inspiration'.
Here are just some of the photos from the day at Cultra.

I'd also like to share another link to NIPG member Angela McCormick's blog where she shares some lovely photos of how she works through her sketchbooks. http://pinfiddlequilts.blogspot.ie/

A big THANK YOU to everyone at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild for such a warm welcome, a pot-luck dinner, stories shared and great fun during my very enjoyable weekend in Belfast. I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with all the activities of this vibrant guild.

Friday, September 28, 2012

An evening of fine wine, local food and craft at Claregalway Castle

On a recent September night I was invited to the recently restored Claregalway Castle (to join the castle mailing list for future events see http://www.claregalwaycastle.com/). I was delighted to be part of this unique event. Bonfires showed the way to the castle entrance.

A court jester performed in the courtyard.

With trumpets, pomp and ceremony, Les Fins Gousiers d'Anjou (http://www.finsgousiers.fr/ arrived to kick off the celebration and tasting of fine wines from the Loire valley paired with cheeses, breads, chowder, oysters and cakes from the Galway region.

The castle was open for exploration with a few gargoyles guarding the tower.

www.madeingalway.ie is a website created to promote the food and craft produced in the county and a number of craftspeople were in attendance showing ceramics, woodwork and textiles.

Here's a selection of the work I exhibited on the night.

Watch out for more events showcasing 'Made in Galway' and be sure to visit Claregalway Castle whenever you get a chance!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beginner's Patchwork Classes starting in Claregalway!

If you've ever thought of making your own patchwork quilt, now is your chance to learn! I kick off classes for beginners on Tuesday evenings from 19.00 to 21.00 at 'Space to Create', Cois Chláir Shopping Centre, Claregalway. The course will run from 2nd October to 13th November. By then you should be well on your way to snuggling up in your own quilt for Winter! Call me on 087 6193870 to book your place.

Friday, September 21, 2012

An exhibition of quilts by Mogs McDonnell and her students in Headford

Mogs McDonnell is an inspirational textile artist and tutor working from her studio Bolg na Talún near Headford, County Galway. To celebrate the work completed by her students every year, an exhibition is held in the Parish Hall.

Here Mogs models her wearable art coat created for 'Fashion sans Frontieres' at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts 2011.

I particularly loved the 'cathedral windows' quilt Mogs made together with the active retirement group in Kilcoona.

This hexagon quilt was also amazing.

And this smaller quilt was very striking.

(apologies to the makers as I neglected to note down all the names!)

There were many other lovely pieces on show and the opening event was well attended. Be sure to watch out for this annual display as it is always a treat!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CraftED: A collaborative project supported by the Crafts Council of Ireland and Education Centres around Ireland

The CraftEd programme is supported by the Crafts Council of Ireland and National Eductional Centres to bring craft-makers into Primary School classrooms to collaborate with the teachers and pupils on a visual arts project.
I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with the 5th and 6th class pupils of Brackloon National School near Westport during their final term.
The Mayo TV film-crew were on hand at the final exhibition at the Mayo Education Centre, to capture the excitement as the children were invited to a celebration of their work. You can see video clip here www.vzaar.com/videos/1026655
This will also be broadcast on SKY TV channel 191 on July 26th at 9pm and repeated the following Sunday and Monday at 7.00pm.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bolg na Talún: A day in the studio of Mogs McDonnell

Bolg na Talún is the name of the quilting studio of Mogs McDonnell, near Headford, Co. Galway. This stone-built studio tucked behind the picturesque thatched cottage is like a little piece of heaven and I thoroughly recommend booking yourself into a workshop with this talented quilter....you will not be disappointed.
Mogs welcomed my sister and myself through the traditional half-door to her studio, where a wood-burning stove warmed the studio for a morning workshop.

Mogs comes from a long-line of tailors and some of the beautiful old sewing equipment is on display in the deep window-sills of her studio.

Mogs runs regular classes for beginners and advanced patchworkers and can also create a customised workshop to suit you or your group.

My sister and I enjoyed a relaxing hand project, learning how to create the 'cathedral window' pattern which we made into pin-cushions. Mogs also sells a range of fat-quarter fabrics to choose from for your workshop project.

For more information see the Crafts Council of Ireland's profile page for Mogs at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Stitching the Legend" exhibition at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey

"Stitching the Legend" an exhibition of work by the Textile Art Forum finishes on Saturday 30th June at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim.

Here are just a few photos of the exhibition taken by Jan Blair.

CraftED exhibition at Mayo Education Centre

Monday 25th was an enjoyable day for the 6 Mayo schools that participated in this year's CraftED project and I was very glad to be invited back to participate in the celebrations.

(The CraftED project is funded by the regional Education Centres in collaboration with the Crafts Council of Ireland with the aim of bringing professional craft-makers into the classroom to share their skills with National School pupils in a collaborative arts project.)

On Monday the Director of the Mayo Education Centre Art Ó Súilleabháin welcomed pupils, teachers craftmakers as well as local press photographers and tv crews to the opening of an exhibition of the work created as part of the CraftED project.

Pupils from each of the schools presented their feedback on the project which highlighted the many benefits of collaboration for the pupils, teachers and craftmakers. The projects showed how interactive learning is so much fun and how all pupils engaged fully with the project. Feedback was extremely positive across all participants.

I was delighted to see the final display of the results of my collaboration with the 5th and 6th class pupils of Brackloon National School. There were photographs of the work in progress, some of the pupils sketchbooks, a colourful scrapbook including poetry, essays, letters, research, photos. The 'Magicalistic Cloak' they created using fabric, stitch, fabric paints, appliqué and foil techniques was modelled by the lovely 'Cynthia'!

Mayo TV filmed interviews with the pupils involved which we look forward to viewing online at www.mayotv.ie.

Each of the schools received a certificate and a 'goody bag' and we were all treated to a wonderful selection of food and drink provided by the Education Centre.

Here are some of the other CraftED items created by the other 5 schools involved.

For more information on the CraftED project and for information on all of the tutors involved see www.learncraftdesign.com.

Scoil Náisiúnta na bhForbacha is inspired to stitch!

The recent International Quilt Festival of Ireland received a lot of attention from quilters and non-quilters alike. Amongst those visiting was Breda King, a national school teacher in Furbo, Co. Galway. Breda was so impressed by the potential of fabric and stitch as a means of self-expression that she made some enquiries and I was delighted to be invited to work with 5th and 6th class on a fabric inspired project before the end of term.

The school is located in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region) and so this gave me an opportunity to practice mo Ghaeilge agus tá súil agam nach raibh mo chuid Gaeilge ró-olc!

Although our time was limited, the children set to work with enthusiasm sketching ideas for a piece of fabric art. I brought along some of my sketchbooks and their related finished textile art pieces to demonstrate the process of developing ideas through sketching and note-taking before tackling a new piece of work.

We then used Berol and Pentel fabric crayons to add colour to 100% cotton fabric. These crayons are a quick way to add vibrant colour, they provide more control for drawing than fabric paints and of course they don't need drying time so they were ideally suited to the time-frame we had available to us. The colours can be fixed to the fabric by heat-setting with an iron (protect your ironing mat and iron by using baking parchment or paper). In theory this makes the finished piece washable (ideal for t-shirts) but we didn't test this as our pieces are meant as wall-art.

We also used fusible webbing (bondaweb/vliesofix) ironed to the back of printed cottons and cut into shapes to iron onto the drawings for extra texture.

The children used cotton embroidery thread to create stitched embellisments (running stitch, cross stitch, etc) and to sew on brightly coloured buttons.

It's great to see all the children enjoying learning how to stitch (which is a skill for life!) but they also saw how these practical skills can be used to create unique artwork.

These supplies and techniques are easy to introduce into the classroom. They encourage the children to learn new coordination skills as they thread a needle, tie a knot, sew small and large stitches. The work requires concentration perserverance and they enjoy the challenge.

Here are just some of the finished pieces stretched over mounting card and ready to frame. I'm hoping this will encourage a new generation of textile artists and perhaps next year's International Quilt Festival of Ireland will see the work of children featuring prominently! For more information of the festival see www.iqfoi.com. For more information on my work with schools read some other posts on this blog or contact me directly. See also www.learncraftdesign.com for more information on the CraftED project with schools, I am one of many craft tutors involved in this project with schools around Ireland.