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Works in Progress

It looks like we will have the makings of a really good exhibition or two by the time we can actually meet up and work together again as a group. Some of us (not me!) are finding the time, and the head space, to work with their hands, whether it is with the sewing machine, the needle and embroidery thread, the paint brush or the dye pot. A quick peek at some works in progress this week ….

Fidelma Barton is working on ‘The Past …is impenetrable’.   She has dyed the base material using flour paste as a resist to create the background, then painted the window detail in acrylic. She is adding the brambles, leaves and eventually the roof using various types of stitch and appliqued textiles. The piece captures an air of neglect and a hidden history just waiting to be uncovered.

Trish Webb Duffy is working on a number of projects, one of which is a series of 18 small hand dyed and stitched squares. She may make them into little cubes or leave them in a grid formation – we will have to wait and see..

Hannaleena Ahonen’s forte is hand stitching and applique. She is definitely looking on the bright side of our current situation with this colourful and happy piece. Its’ sunshine colours would make anyone smile.

Lastly this is Kathrina Hughes’s lockdown project – based on a photo of her husband’s niece heading off into a field of buttercups. I don’t think it needs any words.

Stay safe everyone.

Impenetrable – Covid19

In January, before these strange times hit Ireland, we picked the word ‘Impenetrable’ as a common theme for our work this year. In today’s post, Rina Whyte brings us through some of her notebook work and how the theme and the current pandemic have dovetailed for her:

Since the very start of our project on ‘Impenetrable’ I had been thinking about this virus and how impenetrable it has proven to be. I have used the weekend newspapers each week to inform my work and have also physically brought them into my work in collages, using them in notebook work and stitching into them. They have formed a visual record and given me the challenge of creating with paper.

Spring in all her glory has also been calling me; the beautiful colours, the vibrancy and growth – it seems like she is laughing in the face of this pandemic.

The ritual of keeping this ‘diary’ allows me some control or at the very least it will allow me to look back at what seems to be the biggest and scariest thing that has ever happened and yet I have still had my paints, paper, thread and the ritual of doing something that I find comfort in.

The process also feels like a journey of transition, marking what was, how it was and the journey of where we are going to.

The two collages above are of Dublin and Italy. A homage in some way to both cities in their empty streets and in their loss. They are images of pages from my notebooks, with paper collage, stitch, ink and paint.

Thanks Rina for sharing the thoughts behind your work – pieces of the Irish Times might start appearing in all our work now!

Stitch Anyone?

We are all finding ways to amuse ourselves during this crazy time and perhaps also avoid doing housework. element15 members are no exception:

Marie has been finding inspiration in the TextileArtist.org Community Stitch Challenge. She used some pieces of fabric she had dyed using flour paste to make this beautiful cube, inspired by the work of textile artist, Richard McVetis.

Elaine may have been making too many face masks! Her obsession has led her to make a felt mask that looks remarkably like her dog, Milly!

I hope Elaine isn’t planning on wearing it! Here are some of the other, more practical, face masks she has made, in a beautiful array of luxurious fabrics. Well done Elaine.

Eimear seems to be a bit obsessed with loo rolls. Besides buying blue toilet paper because there was nothing more suitable in the shop, she is now working on a blue textile roll! Taking inspiration from a tutorial on YouTube by Anne Brooke, textile artist, Eimear is using scraps and hand stitch to work on this soothing exercise. The fact that it can be achieved without taking out the sewing machine (and whilst watching the TV) is a bonus. I am not sure it will take her mind off the blue toilet roll though!

Catherine Dowling is branching out (excuse the pun!) into stitch work and applique on some dyed fabric from the recent dying session.

Creatively staying at home

We hope that you are well and keeping safe.

I thought being confined to home would be a great time for creativity – drawing, painting, sewing, planning and thinking about making. But, what is it about this enforced confinement that has robbed us (well, me at least) of the ability to create. I started out full of enthusiasm. I started tidying my stash of fabrics, sorting dyed and prepared fabrics from scraps and plains. I started doing the same for papers, prepared and those yet to be used. I started sorting pens and paints and glues and mediums. I started creating spaces for storing things properly. I started sketching my surroundings in a new sketchbook and joined online textile challenges. You may have noticed a common thread here …. I started!!

Unfortunately, I haven’t finished any of the aforementioned tasks to my satisfaction so now I have a very untidy workspace and have lost the drive to complete !!

But all is not lost. I have managed to join with many element15 members in making face masks to donate to carers, vunerable members of our community and those living in very crowded conditions without the ability to completely self isolate. Over 65 masks were made in 24 hours.

Obviously, these are not medical grade face masks but they are very useful for those caring for elderly or at risk family members as they can be washed at a high temperature and reused. They are made from two layers of close weave cotton fabric. Some are made with an inside opening where a PPE disposable filter could be fitted. Some have elastic loops to go around the ears and others have ties – it all depends on what we have in our stash!

So, all that sorting of the stash was not in vain – at least I could find the nice cotton fabrics and bias binding to begin the mask making. Thanks to Elaine and Catherine for starting the ball rolling.

Facemasks, but not as you know them. Please excuse the layout of these images but WordPress was not cooperating with me today!

Spirit of the Season

Getting into the spirit of the season yet? There is a bit of work involved in doing that – especially getting all that Christmas decorating done!

Something Red, Elaine Peden, element15
Something Red, Elaine Peden

We have made some small contribution to the festive decor in Las Rada Wine and Tapas Bar, Naas by hanging some new artwork in their gallery space. Whilst our work does not have a festive theme, it does have a bit of a red and green thing going on – in keeping with the colours of the season !

Kintsugi, Eimear Molony, element15
Kintsugi, Eimear Molony
element15 in Las Rada, Naas
‘The Bookkeeper’s Daughter’, Barbara Seery
and ‘The Chair’ Pauline Kiernan
Leap’, Marie Dunne

Las Rada Tapas Bar, New Row, Naas East, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland Phone: 045 879 978 www.lasradas.ie