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element15 is a collective of contemporary textile and mixed media artists. We have been together for over ten years and are constantly learning and developing 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 creativity.

Our work could be broadly described as mixed media, ranging as it does from embroidery to painting and sculpture. What brings us together is a common passion for textiles – working with fabric, silk, thread and wool fibre. Incorporating textiles with paper, stitch, paint, print and found objects we create intricate and diverse artwork. 

As a collective, 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.

Members have exhibited extensively in Ireland and some have also participated in shows abroad.

element15 GROUP EXHIBITIONS

Date        Title                           Venue

2019             Resonance                        Inniscara Bespoke Framing and Gallery, Rathcoole

2018             Echoes                              Inniscara Bespoke Framing and Gallery, Rathcoole.

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.

2015             Connection II                    Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre, Dublin 24.

2014             Designs on Nature           Carlow Arts Festival, Carlow.

2014-20        Artists in Residence        Las Rada Tapas Restaurant, Naas, Co. Kildare.

2016-17        Artists in Residence        Two Cooks Restaurant, Sallins, Co. Kildare.

2012-17        Annual Exhibition           McAuley Place Arts & Culture Centre, Naas.

We are:

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 work 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.


Fidelma Barton: I am a mixed media artist working mainly with paint mediums. I enjoy experimenting with different ways of manipulating paint on various textiles. I find myself inspired by everyday things like the allure of the moon and the night sky, to the seashore and my love of beach combing. These influence my designs and my main colour palate of natural tones, creating a sense of calmness and tranquility in my work. I am always looking to enhance my artistic abilities, extend my knowledge and gain experience in different areas of art. Being a member of element15 gives me this opportunity. Over the course of my artistic journey, I have worked with various other mediums such as glass, ceramics, felting, weaving, paper art, and many others.


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 an artist whose creative practice includes mixed media, sculpture, painting, felting and stitch. My love of textiles began while training at the Grafton Academy of Dress Design. I am inspired by the natural world and all its colour and texture. I have an interest in Irish folklore, myths and legends. Using a variety of materials and being open to exploring new processes allows me to experiment and often my work is driven in a new direction by the chance discovery of a new effect.


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. Asta also runs Asta Fabric Design Studio, founded in 2008 and Old Court Linens http://www.oldcourtlinens.ie/.


Kathrina Hughes :     My passion for textiles has 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.  


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.


Pauline Kiernan: I am an 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 am in the final year of a BA (Honours) in Contemporary Applied Arts in CIT, Cork. I work with a variety of media and materials and I love to explore new techniques.


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 am a felt maker with a background in community arts practice, having completed a post grad in Arts in Health. Joining element15 encouraged me to explore different mediums and processes and, once again, engage with stitch. Fibre, cloth and thread are the mediums I use to tell my story working mainly with natural fibres, found and reusable materials. Colour, texture and surface design play an important role in my work. I am currently inspired by the sea, both as an artist and a cold water swimmer, and I incorporate drift wood, sea glass and stones into my textile pieces.



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 journey is a work in progress.  I have always been drawn to the colour, textures and patterns in textiles and created for home and personal wear since my teenage years. I now relish the process of using those same materials to express ideas and concepts and to produce work for exhibition.   I love starting out with crisp, plain cloth, preferably Irish linen, and distressing, stitching, altering, layering, printing and working it into something completely different. Textile alchemy! I am currently studying Visual Art Practice in NCAD and exploring painting, printing, sculpture and textile design. 


Trish Webb Duffy: I have been engaged in the art of stitch and textiles since a young age. My interest was reawakened while studying for a Certificate in Visual Arts in NCAD. I went on to complete a Diploma in Art and Design in 2017. During my time in NCAD I was involved in the Evening Students Union and was on the organising committee for the CEAD annual summer show for eight years. Through this involvement I gained valuable experience of organising and curating large art exhibitions. In my own practice I favour the slow meditative practice of hand-stitching and I work mainly with recycled textiles. My inspiration comes from family stories, memories and old family photos. I am also hugely inspired by my deep love of nature in all its forms and find inspiration on a daily basis during my walks in the Phoenix Park.


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.

4 comments

  1. Bridget McCarthy says:

    Here in the U.S. I belong to a similar group of textile artists. Our interests and abilities are diverse and we are driven to explore, to ask what if? and to step outside of the safety zone. I am a dyer, especially Japanese shibori dyeing, and silk felt maker, both amazing processes. It was a delight to discover your group and see your work. Thank you for sharing.
    Bridget

  2. Hi, just wondering if any of your members live near Aughrim in Co. Wicklow. Looking for someone to meet up with and share some stitching time .
    I am a visual artist, painting being my main medium, with a life long interest in textile art and pushing the boundaries of embroidered and stitched pieces.
    Catherine .

    • admin says:

      Hi Catherine, sorry for the delay in responding. Most of our members live in the Naas area or County Dublin – we do have one member in Manor Kilbride who is the nearest to you and that is a long way!! Have you thought of joining Embroiderers Guild – it is a progressive group of individuals spanning the range from traditional to contemporary work in embroidery and mixed media. They are based in Mount Merrion, Co. Dublin and meet monthly and have very good workshops and visiting facilitators. See their website.
      http://www.irishguildofembroiderers.com. I hope you find a soulmate! Barbara

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