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A Textile Journey, Ten years on!

To mark the occasion of our 10th Anniversary, Dee Kelly, one of our founding members, has written a piece documenting her journey into the world of textile art in its many forms and the evolution of our group into its current iteration:

In January 2009 I attended a ‘Basic and Beyond’ Felting course with Feltmakers Ireland in Lucan, Co. Dublin. It was my first introduction to wet felting and I was immediately addicted! During the course I heard that Kathrina Hughes was starting a felting class in Naas so I took the plunge and joined in February of that year. The classes were held in McAuley Place. Kathrina was very generous with her materials and brilliant at teaching the various techniques involved.

Other members of the group back then were Catherine Dowling, Kay, Gaye , Vanessa, Miriam, Avril, Michelle, and Jackie. We got on very well as a group and I could hardly wait for tuesday evenings to come around and get working with wool fibre again.

Kathrina introduced us to Colleen who showed samples of creative stitching and mixed media work. My love of fabric and stitching was rekindled and, all of a sudden, I was blown away with textile art. Colleen hosted creative stitching sessions in her house and a few of us went along to those too.

We named our group ‘Naas Felt and Fibre’ and we held our first exhibition in McAuley Place in 2012 which was a great success. In 2015, in order to incorporate all the forms of textile art that member produced, we changed the name of our group to element15. Over the years we have lost some great members due to other commitments and the hurdles life puts in the way, but we have also gained new talent who have brought along their expertise and enthusiasm.

Textile Art has taken over my life and my spare bedroom. I have enjoyed my journey over the last 10 years and I would like to say a big thank you to Kathrina and Colleen for all their guidance and support from 2009 onwards. I also wish to acknowledge the tremendous work carried out by all members, past and present – workshops, blogs, website, exhibitions, project proposals and management. May we continue to grow as a group, supporting each other along our textile journey. Dee Kelly, 2019

Exhibition in Finland

Some members of element15 are dab hands at felting and are also members of Feltmakers Ireland. They are currently participating in a joint exihibition with the Finnish Feltmakers Association in Jämsä, Finland until the 4th of August. The exhibition is called ‘A Touch of Red’ and the work exhibited includes wearable and non wearable art, literal and interpretive pieces.

Wall Hanging, Elaine Peden
Elaine with her decorative Neckpiece in Finland
Silk and fine Merino wool blouse by Marie Dunne

In the background of the above image you can see red felted boots and matching handbag by Asta Gauronskyte.

Shawl, Marie Dunne

Congratulations Marie, Asta and Elaine – it is wonderful to be participating in an international exhibition.

Painting the town red!

We have some bright and breezy new work on display in Las Rada Wine and Tapas bar just in time for the biggest week of the year in the Naas area – Punchestown Racing Festival. The weather, as usual, is not cooperating but that won’t stop us getting our glad rags on and heading to the racecourse for socialising, style watching and, of course, race watching too!

Most of the shops in Naas are decorated in accordance with the ‘painting the town red’ and equine theme but our contribution to the festivities for Las Rada is a little more eclectic in its colour palatte and seems to be heading into the blues!

‘Horizon I’ by Kathrina Hughes

Beautiful moody blue colourway and delicate simplicity defines this work by Kathrina.

‘Wild Flowers’ by Catherine Dowling

The wild flowers starting to appear in our hedgerows are celebrated in Catherine’s stitched and dyed work.

‘Bamboozled’ by Dee Kelly

Deep, dark blues are evident in Dee’s eco dyed piece, ‘Bamboozled’. The colour is the result of dying with berries and the string, used to wrap up the fabric tightly during the process, acted as a resist (not taking up the colour where it touched the fabric). The finished piece is evocative of bamboo and wildflowers waving in the wind – great title too!

‘Canal Walk’ by Barbara Seery

And rounding off the blue theme (albeit with a nod towards the warmer colours) is Canal Walk, which brings to mind the formality of a tree lined canal in France (or even Naas!)

Enjoy the horses, the food, the craic and the art in and around Naas and Punchestown this week!

Glorious Peacocks

We caught a glimpse recently of Rina Whyte’s artist notebooks where she explored ideas for her newest works, “I am Peacock I” and “I am Peacock II”. These notebooks are exquisite artworks in their own right, full of colour and texture. Rina uses watercolours, colour pencils, collage, tissue and scraps of fabric to work through her ideas for these glorious peacocks, refining shapes and colours tones, exploring minute details to the fullest.

Rina Whyte Artist Notebook sketch

Inspiration is not difficult to find for Rina as peacocks are kept in her local area and when she sees them in her garden she runs for a camera and sketchpad to capture their elegance and beauty. Rina’s work incorporates both hand and machine stitch and sometimes uses existing decorative fabrics which she embellishes with stitch, beads and applique.

‘I am Peacock II’, Rina Whyte

Rina also uses tea dyeing and bleach to distress the ground fabric before incorporating paint, found fabrics, metallic threads, sequins and beads to create the design. Double layers of yarn are used to create texture and depth of colour whilst still retaining the delicate stitch drawing.

“I am Peacock I”, Rina Whyte

Rina has quoted a poem, The Peacock, by WB Yeats as further inspiration for her work:

What’s riches to him

That has made a great peacock

With the pride of his eye?

The wind-beaten, stone-grey,

and desolate Three-rock

Would nourish his whim.

Live he or die

Amid wet rocks and heather,

His ghost will be gay

adding feather to feather

for the pride of his eye

Long time no chat!

Apologies for the long gap since our last post.  We are looking forward to a creative 2019 – but we have not been entirely idle since last year – we have just been a little quiet on the website and blog!  Hannaleena has been keeping our profile up on Instagram so you can also follow us there too on element15textile 

Some of us have been travelling ….. Australia…..India……and more.  

Some of us have started studying again ….. National College of Art and Design….. Crawford College of Art and Design…..

Some of us have given workshops….. felt hat making…….

Some of us have been ill…..

Some of us have exhibited and sold our work……

and most importantly of all, most of us are still creating, learning, sharing and looking forward to a productive 2019!  We are having a planning sessions this week to work towards our next big project.

I will post some images of new work next week but, in the meantime, these lovely pieces have gone to new homes after exhibiting at the Kilteel St. Brigid’s Arts Weekend last month … 

After LaFranchini I, Kathrina Hughes

After La Franchini I, Kathrina Hughes
Shadow, Helen McLoughlin, element15
Shadow, Helen McLoughlin,
Squall, Asta Gauronskyte, element15
Squall, Asta Gauronskyte


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