Thursday, 5 November 2015

Space and time to breathe.

 Some of my collection of shells from Curracloe beach.

So - here I am in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland on a 13 day break. With nothing planned!!!! I have 4 days left before I travel to Dublin and the Knitting and Stitching Show. As many of you will know, my life is usually planned out at least 2 years in advance with little room for manoeuvre. 
I have had time to catch up with emails, this blog, do some exploring . . . and rest. I was a bit worried about what I was going to do with my self - I have managed to occupy myself splendidly.

Regular readers will know I taught in Australia in September at the Geelong Fibre Forum. One of the tutors there was Nicola Brown - from Ireland. The world just gets smaller doesn't it? Nicola is eco dyer, eco printer and felt maker. She is great fun to be with and it is great to meet like minds. As we got on so well I suggested we meet up when I was over here.

On the road, across country, to Borris.

It took just over 3 hours to drive to Borris in Co.Carlow where I had arranged to meet Nicola. I would then follow her to her house as it was a bit hard to find - it was! County Carlow is very beautiful, very rural, with very quirky and interesting towns and villages. Some of them look as though time has stood still.

 Nicola's home.

Nicola live in a very quiet, rural area in beautiful surroundings. The views all around her house are stunning. I love dry stone walls and the roads are lined with them all over Ireland. In Nicola's area they are made of granite - wonderful.

 One of the walls in Nicola's garden.

 A Cotinus shrub whose leaves feature heavily in Nicola's work.
 A walk up the lane to see the views and the walls . .

Knowing my love of the sea and beaches, Nicola whisked me off to a wonderful beach that is an hour away from her home. Curracloe beach is in County Wexford and is one of the most popular beaches in Ireland. Deservedly so, miles and miles of clean sand and sand dunes, stunningly beautiful.

 I love the patterns created by the tide.

 We had a great time collecting shells and generally admiring our surroundings.

 Nicola collecting shells.

 This my haul - a wonderful collection of rusts and black.

 Aren't they gorgeous?

Last Sunday I went along to the Carrick on Shannon car boot sale - and bought a tiara!!! As you do . . .

My rather over the top purchase which I want to dismantle and make lighter - it is too heavy to wear.

 Nicola wearing my tiara.

 As it will be my birthday on the Saturday of the Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show, I thought I would dress appropriately! I had planned to have a party at home on that Saturday, but the dates of the show were changed - GGrrrrr!!!!
I had taken the tiara with me to Nicola's as I don't have any tools with me - strangely!! I needed the use of a hacksaw and wire snips.
As it happens - we were having such a good time - I forgot to work on the tiara. I have since bought the tools and sorted said tiara here in my room in Carrick on Shannon.

I just love this color combination.

I was very much looking forward to seeing more of Nicola's work and where and how she did her eco dying. It is a fascinating subject and Nicola is a very talented artist. I of course had to buy 3 scarves, 2 for me and one for my sister. It was very hard just choosing 3. I have also commissioned a huge silk organza wrap - my birthday present to me.

 My silk satin scarf, it's a heavy weight . .

 . . a detail of the scarf - aren't the colours fabulous, very similar to my shell collection!!!

 The other scarf is a lighter weight silk, more floaty. I can't tell you how beautiful it is - the photographs don't do it justice.
 The marks are scrummy.

Nicola's work and her environment are totally organic. She has even planted 13.000 trees on her land. I don't think she will be running out of leaves for her dying and printing anytime soon . . .

Nicola's website is -  do have a good look at it. Nicola is also on Facebook.
If you are interested in her work - this is a short video about her work and her studio.

I know we will be meeting up again . . and again. We have date next year for me to come over here and hopefully Nicola will be able to fit in a stay in Brighton in the not too distant future.


Travellng to teach, whether it's in the UK or further afield can be tiring, and at times lonely. But there are also tremendous benefits, making new friends is one of them. It easier to stay in touch wherever you are in the world now. I know I could be accused of being on Facebook almost continuously, but is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends all over the world. Being able to communicate with past students in Australia and New Zealand is great fun, and we never know when we will see each other again as I travel there annually. 

Anything could happen - and probably will!

x x x


  1. Hi Kim, it was such a pleasure having you here, I look forward to many more visits in the future!!! Xxx

    1. Oh there will be have no fear my lovely girl. I had such a fabulous time, thank you for looking after me soooooo well. x x x x

  2. 13 days in Ireland with nothing to do - bliss! You are certainly making good use of your time - thank you for the links to Nicola's work, it is gorgeous. Hope you have a very Happy Birthday and special day - I am sure you will be spoilt even if you are working. xx