At the University of Ulster, Belfast, I was engaged in creative studies on a Textile Art Degree, when I was first introduced to handmade felt.
Handmade felt is the result of rubbing un-spun wool with soapy water to form a fabric. I molded and sculpted the wool to make wearables and home furnishings. I had noted in my ideas book at the time, that I wanted to ‘draw with the wool’.
It was almost twenty years later, before I started to experiment with wool picture making. I now work from my studio at the Donegal Craft Village, where I make colourful, hand felted landscape pictures. Nature, animals, dramatic skies, transient seasons – the silent land speaks to me and I respond by connecting and observing.
Colour blending is the fundamental and most exciting part of my craft. Different coloured wool fleece is mixed with various natural fibres by using hand carders to create a unique palette. The wool mixtures are then transformed into an original hand felted scene. I tune into my emotions to create a sense of movement and atmosphere in my work.
My felted pieces are enhanced by using a sewing machine and hand embroidery to define images. The sewing machine is what I use to draw with. At this point, I feel like I am an artist working in reverse by sketching after the paint has been applied. The wool is my ‘paint’ and the sewing machine is my ‘pencil’. The embroidery and stitch complete the creation and add interesting textural details, which resemble a three dimensional appearance.
Education & Awards
BA Honours – Textile Art, University of Ulster, Belfast
Postgraduate Diploma – Fine & Applied Art, University of Ulster, Belfast
Smirnoff Fashion Award Finalist 1998
Member of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
Gallery & Studio
My gallery and felt art workshop is located on the outskirts of Donegal Town in the North West of Ireland. Nestled in The Craft Village, I work among fellow artists and crafts people who work with a variety of mediums including paint, glass, gold, silver, yarn, paper & ink. There is also an award winning café which serves delicious freshly ground coffee, home made cakes and gourmet lunches.
The Craft Village is surrounded by rolling hills, sheep and cattle, which makes it an ideal setting for my landscape art work. There is a charming courtyard and picnic area with free car & coach parking.