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Reduced Existence

Apologies that we haven’t posted anything on our blog since last November.  This pandemic has reduced our existence into little boxes, separate individual worlds where we are slowly losing our ability, and our willingness, to communicate and keep in touch with one another.   As an artist collective we get an enormous amount of support from meeting as a group and seeing each other’s work in progress.  But that has been denied to us for many months now and we are each trying to work away on our own with the odd Zoom meeting thrown in to keep us going.    

But all is not lost.  The additional time we now have at our disposal is being put to good use.  We are creating, experimenting, exploring new techniques, attending online courses and planning for the future.  We are working on an exhibition which will take place later this year (we hope) and we will share some more detail about it shortly.

In the meantime, here is some of Elaine’s work in progress.  Elaine is repurposing existing art pieces and also clothing and floor rugs to form something new – deconstructing, cutting, dying and stitching.   The results are very beautiful.


Broken Heart, Elaine Peden, element15       Broken Heart, Elaine Peden, element15

‘Broken Heart’, Elaine Peden


Hidden Garden, Elaine Peden, element15

‘Hidden Garden’, Elaine Peden





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

Get Knotted

Now the ‘Get Knotted’ in our title is not an instruction to get lost, but rather how Dee Kelly felt when she had completed her latest piece of art.   Dee, master of all things stitch, has written for us about creating her beautiful piece ‘Sliabh Alainn’:

For the last few years I have submitted textile art pieces to the Kilteel Arts Festival, which takes place at the beginning of February in celebration of St. Brigid’s Day on 1st February.  The Community in Kilteel do tremendous work each year organising this event, so it is great to see support coming from near and far.

Now you would imagine that having the date in mind each year would give me plenty of time to get organised, but oh no, of course I leave it until the week before the festival and then end up stitching late into the night.

One of my pieces this year, was small in size, only  6” X 4”, but large on the amount of stitch involved in creating it!!

'Sliabh Alainn' by Dee Kelly, element15

‘Sliabh Alainn’ (Beautiful Mountain) was inspired by the beautiful colours in the landscape around where I live.   I started with a rough sketch onto a piece of cotton and then stretched it into an embroidery hoop.  I randomly selected one of the outlined shapes, and using three strands of embroidery thread, I started to embroider French Knots, working the knots very closely together, until that section was completely filled.  I changed the colour of the embroidery thread and moved onto the next section, continuing this way until the scene was completed.

Sliabh Alainn work in progress

The back of the work was kept as neat as possible, so that there is no bumps for mounting and framing.  I think the reverse of the piece looks like an abstract art scene and could possibly work as the right side. 

After working hundreds of French knots, I know what I would say to anyone suggesting the back of the work is better than the front – “Get Knotted”.

Dee’s creativity can be seen in the flesh in our current exhibition in Las Rada Wine and Tapas Bar, Naas.

'Sliabh Alainn' by Dee Kelly, element15






These boots were made for walking…Felted Boots!

Felted boots – who would have thought!  And yes, these boots are made for walking… outdoors. And are really warm and comfy too!

Asta, never one to sit on her hands, has made these really cute and functional boots for her daughter.  They are made from merino wool, wet felted, using these wooden shoe lasts to create the correct foot shape.  Asta sourced rubber soles which she then attached and finished the boots with a needle felted cat face (work in progress in the one eyed cat image below)!    A tremendous hit with her daughter and, I wouldn’t be surprised if she had lots of orders for more!

And while we are on the subject, here are some indoor booties Asta has made ……. just what is needed to get through in this extended winter!! These are very warm, comfortable and stand up to a good deal of wear and tear.  It is great to see handmade and functional footwear being produced.  Wool is breathable, insulating, readily absorbs moisture, hygienic and dirt repellent.  Most importantly these booties are eco-frendly, with no chemicals of any kind used in the process.  Who wouldn’t want a pair!   Get in line!!  You can contact Asta through her facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/OldCourtLinens/

Niki Collier Feltmaker and Ivaylo Petrov Photographer collaborative Exhibition

Celebrations – an interesting exhibition currently on in the Visitor Centre, Phoenix Park by Niki Collier feltmaker based in Dublin and Ivaylo Petrov, a Bulgarian photographer based in Kildare.  It runs until March 31st.

Niki explains the concept behind the exhibition:  Every year, it is a Bulgarian tradition on the 1st of March, the month marking the spring awakening, to adorn our chests with a red and white wool brooch, which we Bulgarians call martenitsa. Through the centuries this art, but a handful of wool, has been handcrafted in various forms and shapes, but always using red and white wool. The white represents our wish for long life and the red our wish for good health.  Martenitsa is not just a strong symbol of Bulgarian identity, but has become part of Unesco heritage. It is invariably one of the first presents that we share with friends of Bulgaria.

The work in this exhibition profiles the evolving make up of a community through geographical, cultural and personal change. The artistic conversation is how festivals and customs reflect and manifest this. 
The models in each visual narrative are authentic members of the Bulgarian community. They are selected on the basis of their personal connection to a festival, holiday or custom.

For each scene the artwork in felt is created by Niki to reflect the message about growth, change and strength which is connecting to others. It is a research into what shifts our personal and collective boundaries of empathy, acceptance and strength.

This is a collaborative project between Niki Collier Design an award winning visual artist and designer based in Dublin and Ivaylo Petrov a photographer from the Bulgarian community based in Kildare.     www.ivaylopetrov.eu/