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element15 facing the elements!

Our exhibition, ‘A Year’s Turning’, has opened and will run for the next three weeks. This is an open air exhibition across two gardens – the well known Hunting Brook Garden of Jimi Blake and June Blake’s contemporary garden just around the corner on the N81 to Blessington.

We are either very brave or very stupid putting on a textile and mixed media exhibition outdoors! The weather has not exactly been in our favour but we have made the pieces to withstand the elements so hopefully all will be well. Many of the artworks have been fitted into or over steel frames which we commissioned from Barry Murphy, Anvil Ironworks, Saggart. The ‘frames’ have been produced to easily sit into any garden and will last forever. The reaction so far has been very positive and we are very grateful to those who have visited and to those who purchased on the first day.

Here are some images to whet your appetite.

Works by Fidelma Barton, Marie Dunne and Hannaleena Ahonen

The exhibition is open at the same time as the gardens:

11am – 4 pm, Wednesday – Saturday in Hunting Brook Garden, Lamb Hill, Blessington W91YK33

11am – 5 pm, Wednesday – Sunday in June Blake’s Garden, Tinode, Blessington W91 EC90

There is a charge into each garden via an honesty box ( €8 and €6 respectively ), so bring some cash. Both gardeners are happy for you to bring a picnic and linger. Lots of plants for sale and well as the artworks…..

We are very grateful to Kildare County Council Arts Service for grant support to mount this exhibition.


It is said that art is born of the observation and investigation of nature. Observing and finding solace in nature is something many people have tuned in to over the past turbulent year. We, as a collective of artists, have been very fortunate to be welcomed into the wonderful gardens of Jimi Blake at Hunting Brook and June Blake’s Garden, both just outside Blessington. We had the opportunity to respond to the gardens over the seasons and to spend time among the creative and imaginative planting schemes of these inspiring gardeners. The culmination of our work is an open-air exhibition across the two gardens which opens on 18th August.

The artworks will be integrated into the landscaping, to add to the vibrancy of the planting but not to detract from it. We see our work as a creative reflection to the natural world found in the gardens, not just in the stunning colours of high summer but also to the more subdued and quiet time of dormancy and decay in winter. Making textile and mixed media artworks that can withstand the rigours of display outdoors has been a challenge, but a challenge we have relished .

The gardens are within a few hundred yards of each other which makes following the art trail through both gardens a pleasurable day out. Anyone who is interested in gardening will know of these world renowned gardens but, even if you don’t know your cranesbill from your pelargonium, we hope you will find the time to visit during the three weeks of the exhibition. The opening times for each garden differ slightly so please see the details above. There is a small entrance charge to each garden via an honesty box. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Subject to Change

If you are in the vicinity of Cork next weekend seek out ‘Subject to Change’, the Fine Art & Contemporary Applied Art Degree exhibition in Crawford College of Art & Design.  Our very own Pauline Kiernan, has just completed her degree in Contemporary Applied Art and is showing her degree work – and some absolutely beautiful work it is too. You can attend in person (yes, actually see a real exhibition at last) from the 12th to the 15th, 11 am to 7 pm each day. The online launch is on the 11th at 6pm and will be streamed live on Facebook /CrawfordCollegeofArtandDesign

Pauline’s work looks at the role textiles play in our lives regardless of who we are or where we were born, from the feel of a soft blanket wrapped around us to the physical touch of textiles on the skin. She explores what we do as individuals to feel protected while at the same time feeling vulnerable. Pauline used techniques such as textile painting, screen printing, machine embroidery, reverse applique and hand stitching to explore this emotional attachment. Layering personal stories of memory, maternity, loss, joy and identity with symbols and rituals into a tapestry or quilt like piece, she aims to evoke a sense of comfort and protect. Well worth taking the time to see either virtually or in person.

Works in progress

There is always some work in progress when you are an artist – sometimes three or four pieces on the go at one time. Do you work on them for a while, put them aside, take them out again, look at them for a while, change something, add something, subtract something, redo it, cut it up and reassemble in a different way? That seems to be the path in textile and mixed media in this group. Eventually, we reach a place of contentment with a piece: “Yes, that will do nicely” – it is now ready to be seen by others!

A snippet of Marie Dunne’s work in progress with free machine embroidery still in the sewing machine

Pluid Project – National Comfort Blanket

In February a national callout was made to every artist, maker or creator in the land to collaborate to create Pluid – a national comfort blanket by submitting a single 15cm X 15cm original art work in any medium. The brief was ‘what gives you comfort and solace during this pandemic’. It appears that many of us have found a new respect for our surroundings, our outdoor spaces, our hobbies and our families.

The individual art works will be curated and assembled like crocheted granny squares of old and then exhibited at a venue (to be confirmed) when restrictions allow in Midsummer, June 2021. Following the exhibition of Pluid, artists will be invited to donate their works to be auctioned for Pieta House, working to prevent suicide and self harm. 

It is a wonderful idea and well done to the artists who are organising it. Watch out for the auction and bid for your favourite piece. Instagram: @pluid.project2021. Here are four artworks contributed by element15 members that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on:

Poolbeg, Pauline Kiernan
Marie Dunne
Eimear Molony
Trish Webb Duffy