element15 is a collective of contemporary textile artists. We have worked together for a number of years, constantly learning and refining our techniques. Our backgrounds are diverse; from dressmaking, architecture and ceramics to teaching and design. This wide-ranging experience informs and influences each artist’s interpretation of a source to create their own unique art.
Our common passion is textiles – working with fabric, silk, thread, wool fibre, paper, stitch, print and mixed media to create intricate and interesting pieces. Our aim is to explore the complexity of textile art, to establish its potential as an art form in its own right and to exhibit our work.
Although some members come from Co. Dublin and Co. Wicklow, the majority are living in Co. Kildare where we are based. We regularly hold exhibitions in McAuley Place Arts and Culture Centre, Naas and have a permanent, rotating exhibition in the gallery space at Las Rada Wine and Tapas restaurant in Naas.
Members have grown and developed their skills through the teaching of workshops and participation in learning experiences, both here in Ireland and abroad. The Group has expertise in exhibiting, curating and teaching community based programmes. Many have been involved in community art groups and inter-generational arts projects such as ‘If you were in my Shoes’ .
element15 GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Date Title Venue
2018 Echoes Castletown House, Celbridge, Co Kildare
2016 Life Lines McAuley Place Arts & Culture Centre, Naas, Co Kildare.
2016 Linked The Watergarden Gallery, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
2015 Year’s End Straffan Antiques & Design Centre, Straffan, Co. Kildare.
2015 Strata The Blue Egg Gallery, Wexford.
2015 Connection I The Gallery, Ballyroan Library, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.
2015 Connection II Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre, Dublin 24.
2014 Designs on Nature Carlow Arts Festival, Carlow.
2016-17 Artists in Residence Two Cooks Restaurant, Sallins, Co. Kildare.
2014-18 Artists in Residence Las Rada Tapas Restaurant, Naas, Co. Kildare.
2012-17 Annual Exhibition McAuley Place Arts & Culture Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare.
Members have exhibited as individuals with the Irish Guild of Embroiderers, Northern Ireland Guild of Embroiderers, Felt Makers Ireland, the Finnish Felt Association, Finlad, the Hyperbolic Crochet Project, the Big Egg Hunt, the 04 Textile Group, the Kildare Artists Notebook Project, Culture Night Kildare, Pigs on Parade and the Knit and Stitch Show.
Our work has appeared in publications: “Worldwide Colours of Felt”, Textile-link, June 2016 (Asta Gauronskyte); “If You Were in My Shoes – an intergenerational arts initiative”, Tallaght Community Arts, 2013 (Kathrina Hughes); “Profiles in Felt”, Crafts Council of Ireland, 2011 (Colleen Prendiville, Kathrina Hughes, Elaine Peden)
Hannaleena Ahonen: I grew up in Finland where we have a strong culture of handicrafts and traditions around them and that has had an influence on my crafts now. In addition to that I have been influenced by the Irish love of beautiful colours. I am inspired by nature, forest, natural materials and I am also inspired by the imaginary world. I have challenged myself to design all my own work, and to try new and different techniques. The members of element15 and the skills I have learned with them have been a great inspiration.
Rose Cronin: It is believed that the Nomadic people discovered felt accidentally. Having stuffed their footwear with sheep’s wool to prevent blisters, they discovered that at the end of the days journey the sweat and friction formed a very cosy and comfy piece of felt that cushioned and protected their feet. My work is the fusion of this ancient art form with modern techniques to create new and interesting shapes and styles. Mother Nature inspires me with endless ideas for colour combinations, shapes and patterns. As I love shape, form and texture I find these natural materials give me endless possibilities for creation. Like the Nomadic people at the end of a day’s journey in feltmaking, the manipulation and mixture of fibres and fabric surprise even me.
Catherine Domican: My work is mainly in contemporary wet felting and nuno felting, using combinations of wool, cottons and silks. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting an image or idea through the manipulation and fusing of different fibres into an art piece. My work has also evolved into the design and production of wearable art pieces.
Catherine Dowling : I am a fibre artist with a background in knitting and crochet; I work mainly in felt but also use stitch and beading as a means of drawing and embellishing my work. My intention as an artist is to create beautiful fibre objects and I mainly produce framed work, rugs, wall hangings and occasional wearable pieces and jewellery. I am primarily inspired by the visual and atmospheric elements of the natural environment. The patterns, colours and feelings inspired by nature act as an endless resource for my artwork.
Marie Dunne : I am inspired in my work by Irish folklore and the natural world. The sea, the moon and stars also inspire! I trained in the Grafton Academy of Dress Design and this is where my love of textiles began. I paint on gossamer fabric using acrylic and silk dyes, embellishing with collage and stitch. I am passionate about working with fabric, wool fibre and stitch and with developing new techniques in my work.
Caroline Fitzgerald: I have always loved working with natural materials, wood, marble, metals, cotton or silk. After almost 20 years of working in Interior Design, I now enjoy a new way of channeling my creativity using these same materials but interpreting their shapes and textures in paper, textile and stitch.
Asta Gauronskyte : Asta is an emerging textile artist, primarily working in felting, machine and hand embroidery and creating wearable art pieces and felt objects. Asta also runs Asta Fabric Design Studio, founded in 2008 and Old Court Linens http://www.oldcourtlinens.ie/.
Kathrina Hughes : My passion for textiles have evolved from the practicalities of dressmaking to a more varied and creative form of textile art. Working with a variety of materials and media allows me to exploit each medium to create an individual and unique piece of work. The materials vary from raw wool and silk fibres to create a piece of felt, or some painted and dyed fabric embellished with stitch. My inspiration comes from the natural world around me. Just as with the process of life and the seasons I see and embrace my work as a creative journey.
Pauline Kiernan: I am a fibre artist with a background in dressmaking. I completed a Certificate in Visual Art from NCAD Dublin in 2016, where I fell in love with textile art and went on to complete the Art Textile Special Purpose Award Level 8 course at CIT – Crawford, College of Art and Design, Cork in 2018. I have just been accepted into third year BA (Honours) in Contemporary Applied Arts in CIT. I work with a variety of media and materials and I love to explore new techniques. I usually find that whatever I am inspired by, will inform the media I use, dependent on the subject matter.
Dee Kelly: I had an interest in sewing and craft work from an early age as the skills have been handed down through generations in my family. As a teenager I had a summer job in a fabric shop where I learned about the properties, textures and myriad uses of fabric, wool and trimmings. In 2009 I did a workshop with Feltmakers Ireland which opened my eyes to the wonders of felting and I was immediately addicted. I started exploring stitch, printing and mixed media in 2010 so that it could be incorporated into my felting work. As I always loved hand stitching and embroidery, this seemed like a natural progression for me. As a result, my work has moved more and more in the direction of stitch and mixed media in recent years.
Eimear Molony : With a background in Horticulture and Community Arts Practice, Eimear engages with her experiences and environment through the media of sketchbook and textiles. Her sketchbook work allows heightened interaction on a micro level. She also uses her sketchbooks as inspiration for textile installations, constructed through cloth manipulation and dry felting, using machine and hand embroidery for mark making.
Kay McKenna: Felt making was a revelation when I discovered it at Bloom about 10 years ago. It promised so many possibilities of colour and especially three dimensional shapes. The versatility of wool was exciting, being able to create the finest felt jewellery, wraps and scarves, to sturdy slippers and vessels. I learnt knitting, sewing, embroidery, crochet, patchwork and quilting and willow basketry from family and neighbours as a young child and used these crafts in making garments and household objects as a necessity, not a hobby, and always recycling and making do. The wheel has come full circle and I now use my skills to produce articles of beauty and decoration, as well as the odd utility product.
Helen McLoughlin: “Wabi sabi” (from Japanese) – “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” Inspired by the return to nature of man-made items; the action of metal rusting away, layers of weathered peeling paint, fraying fabric, burnt or decaying wood, faded print & photographs, broken glass; the fragility and beauty in this process. Captivated by the inherent patterns in the natural world, both random and symmetrical – lichen, tree bark, skeletal leaves – how these can be interpreted, manipulated, repeated, replicated. For me, mixed media offers a diversity of texture, colour and a range of materials which gives infinite possibilities for interpretation.
Elaine Peden: I come from a family of artists in the west of Ireland. My own creative journey started more than ten years ago in the US with jewellery making. When I discovered felt making it opened the door to so many creative possibilities – it would take a lifetime to explore all its variations! I also enjoy working with fabric and stitch to produce abstract pieces of textile art.
Colleen Prendiville: I am still intrigued by the potential of working with textiles. How, by using fabric, stitch, wool, cotton, found objects etc., such a range of effects and beauty can be achieved. My inspiration comes from various sources – often based on forms and patterns found in nature and also in man made structures and creativity. Art forms from South America and Australian Aboriginal art have been an ongoing interest. Recent work involves working with stitch in a more deliberate manner, the journey of making a piece a slower and more contemplative process. Japanese woodblock print on paper continues this process and provides new direction and challenge.
Barbara Seery : My artistic learning is a work in progress. I have always been drawn to the colour, textures and patterns in textiles and have spent many years creating with textiles for home and personal wear. I am relatively new to the process of using those same materials to express ideas and concepts and producing work for exhibition. I am currently studying for a Certificate in Visual Art Practice in NCAD. I love starting out with crisp, plain cloth, preferably Irish linen, and distressing, stitching, altering, layering, printing and working it into something completely different, and hopefully beautiful. Textile alchemy!
Rina Whyte: My background is in textile design with a degree from NCAD but my career has moved more into the management and curation of design and art projects. I am now returning to my passion of creating, aided by the inspiration, talent and partaking in workshops as part of element15. I am inspired by both whimsical, transparent and delicate fabrics but also by heavily adorned Indian silks and luscious brocades.