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