Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Rounding up - one year on. Irish life and online teaching.

Oyster catcher feathers from my local bay.

I have lived in Ireland for a year now - and I can safely say it is the best thing I have ever done. It was a big leap from Brighton, but so worth it. Where I live now is so very quiet, so different to where I lived in Brighton. I have made great friends here and have been accepted by the local community. 

It has taken this long for me to find my reason for being here in this beautiful place. Which direction my work is going to go - I have fallen in love with seaweed and have become quite passionate about clearing our local beach of plastic. I never felt I could make any kind of  difference while living on the South Coast of the U.K. Here on this remote tip of County Clare I feel I can make a small difference.

Ross Bay on a very chilly afternoon. My house is on the hill.

 As the tide goes out, it leaves behind beautiful compositions.

I just love the layers of seaweed.

Playing with Bondaweb backed polyester organza and a soldering iron.

Kind of seaweedy . . 
Starting to experiment with painted Bondaweb and sparkle.

More painted Bondaweb and sparkle.

I am collectiong limpet shells with holes in to stitch onto - something. 
To be decided.

On the estuary side of the peninsula are the most stunning combinations of colour and texture. Fabulous strata. This will also be the inspiration for new work.

Making such a dramatic move did worry my friends, they kind of understood, but wanted make sure I was coping over here. Consequently whenever I was home in Ireland this year, at least one friend was also here with me - just checking!! There were quite a few - and it was good to be able to show them around my new area.

Mary and Claudia at the Bridges of Ross.

Jill walking the labyrinth at Vandeleur Gardens.

In 2018 I will be home more and traveling less. I will only be traveling to the textiles shows in the UK. (More details in my diary on the right).

I won't be seeing this view so often.

The only 'face to face' teaching I will doing next year will be on my Look. Draw. Stitch weekends here at my home. Bookings have already begun. Most of the bookings are from ladies in Ireland and the UK, but I do have one from America and one from South Africa. I start in January and have a great group of ladies coming to play. For more information go to  land-_sea_and_sky

So I will be having less of this . .

. . and more of this - me being filmed for the Sonas Studio online workshops 
by the ever clever Jayne.

Me during filming.

I am very pleased with how the online workshops are going. We have wrestled with the technology and appear to have a pleasing formula with the actual videos. I met a lot of the students who have enrolled on at least one of the online workshops at the shows this year, and they have been pleased with the format and style of the workshops. The biggest benefit seems to be that you can work at your own pace in your own time - for up to 6 months.

We will be adding several new workshops next year - watch this space!
I have been getting emails from students who want to placed on the waiting list for the next run of Manipulating with Heat. There is no need for a waiting list. The workshop starts enrolling on February 16th.

My greatest passion, Experimental Textiles Online, is now enrolling ready to begin late January 2018, and we have students. I can't wait to see what the students get up to. The course will last for 6 months, the students will then have another 6 months working with me online to help them develop a piece of new work that has developed from doing the course. Skype is a wonderful thing. I have been able to interview interested students and we will use it for tutorials.
My online workshops are the reason I want to be at home more next year - I want to concentrate on supporting my online students. I will be back to venturing further afield in 2019.

While I am feeding all the passions I have already mentioned, I hope to be able to create a plastics/textile studio from this outbuilding on my land. 2 thirds of the space will be my textiles studio that I will share with a local textile recycling venture I shall be launching later next year.

A great space with an amazing view.

As well as recycling textiles - I love recycling beads.
This pic show 3 of my recycled bangles.

Some of you will know I have always been interested in working with plastics. I have been doing so since 1985 and my first diploma in Creative Embroidery. My degree is in Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics and the first book I wrote was Hot Textiles. I seem to be coming full circle now as I am cleaning the local small bay whenever I can, clearing up all the plastic.

My first collection - 2 very full bags in 10 minutes.

I am now collecting all that I can and starting to wash and sort it. I will then start to plan what to do with it. I will be melting a lot of it - care has to be taken as some plastics will give off harmful fumes.

Melted and pulled plastic.

I have worked with chipped plastic for a while now to create jewellery. 

At some stage I hope to be able to invest in a small machine that grates/chips plastic. In the meantime I need to find someone locally who does it. 

So - I have coped and developed. Met students online from all over the world and found my reason for being here, not a bad 12 months. You have to have a plan, make it happen. It isn't luck!!
Let's see what happens in the next 12 months.

The view out to sea from the Bridges of Ross
Wherever there are loose stones people will leave behind a heart.

I am off to start making some silk paper bowls and finish my jewellery for a local Christmas market this weekend. And I MUST get on with my receipts for my accountant!!!!

Bright and chilly today.


Hello Jill - you will soon be here agian.
Hi Diana - glad you had a great birthday - love to you both.
Hello Tod - I have SO many plans. x x x x

x x x

Sunday, 5 November 2017

So exciting! Experimental Textiles Online is now enrolling

A section taken across 3 Journeys.

I have reached a rather exciting and rewarding time in my own personal journey. My teaching journey.
Whilst I am known for my development of surfaces to stitch onto, the course I am most pleased with is the course I wrote and developed - Experimental Textiles. It started off as a 1 year course - but my students wouldn't go away - so I wrote another year . . then another year. In the end it became a 4 year course up to diploma level. At one stage I was teaching it across 2 colleges and managing 3 first year groups, 3 second year groups . . and so on. The waiting lists were so long we had to put on extra nights and in the case of the 4th year - Saturdays. 
This of course was in the days when Adult Education was properly funded. When you could write and develop your own courses.

I taught the 4 year version of Experimental Textiles for 12 years. I had to stop in the end as I no longer had a life!! I thought I would never want to teach a long course again - so I wrote the book.

 Experimental Textiles is my 2nd book.

Of course - I then missed teaching a course where the students showed development and progression. But how to simplify it? And NOT have to do paperwork? 
I  took out the essence of what I considered to be the most important aspects of the course and developed a 9 weekend course to be taught over 9 months which I delivered in Redditch at Inkberrow Design Centre. As Redditch is more or less in the centre of the UK I was able to attract students from all over the UK. Devon and Cornwall, Scotland, Yorskshire to name a few places. It was a big investment in time and money for the students as most of them had to stay over on the Friday and Saturday night as well as pay for the course. I taught this version of the course for 5 years. Up until March this year. 

Work through black and white exercises to creating your own printing blocks.
You will never have to use some elses designs again. 
You will be creating your own.

I have learned so much from my students, We have had a great time together. 
Since moving to Ireland last year I have wanted to change how I teach. I needed to travel less. live in the 'now' a bit more. So I developed my range of process based online 'one day' workshops. These are working well now and it is now time for me to start promoting my new online version of Experimental Textiles. This will be different from the online workshops that I am offering.
The course will run for 6 weekends over 6 months from January to June 2018. you will then have until December to work along side myself and other members of the group to develop a new piece of work. There will be monthly Skype sessions with each student.

If you are interested - have look here.

If you think it is time to invest in yourself and your work and would like to talk to me about the course, then do email me and we can can arrange to speak on the phone or on Skype.

Here is a very small selection of samples and finished work from over the years.

It will be exciting to work with students from all over the world via the wonders of the internet. A new age of ExTex, as it is fondly known, has begun!


I will be off to do the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin this week - 
I will be on the Freudenberg Vilene stand - number G51. Opposite the galleries.
Do come and say hello if you are going. I will be happy to talk to you about any of the sonas-studio courses if you would like to chat.


Hello Jill - can't remember, will you be at Harrogate???
Hello Diana, many thanks for your help today.
Hi Tod - hope all is well in your world. Love you. x x x

x x x

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Teaching in Ireland 2018

Guinea fowl by Krystyna Pomeroy
The Kilbaha Summer School

I now have all my teaching here in Ireland organised for 2018.  I will still be doing Festival of Quilts and the Knitting and Stitching Shows at Ally Pally and in Dublin and Harrogate. I will also be doing the Fashion and Embroidery show in March at the NEC Birmigham. So I will be about in the UK.

 My house viewed from my field.

Look. Draw. Stitch.
I will be offering 9 weekends of Look. Draw. Stitch. There is a page on my website if you would like all the dates and details - /

 The idea of these weekends is to get back to basics. To look at what I consider to be the basic skills you need to create original work. It is all very simple, but not something we tend to do unless we are pushed - ever so gently!!!!

 The view from my house. It isn't always sunny . . . !
Some of the lichen on the local dry stones walls is so long - it waves at you as you drive by . . .

Ross Bay is 5 minutes drive from my house with wonderful rock formations from the ice age . . .

 . . and of course the shapes and colours that are my latest passion -seaweed.

I have fallen in love with the Loop Head Peninsula - those of you who follow me on Facebook will be highly aware of this!! There is so much to inspire, the dry stone wall, the cliffs, the geology and if you visit in our summer - the flowers in the hedgerows are an absolute joy.
Depending on the time of year you come to Loop Head there will be different plants in flower  - or not. There is always lichen on the walls and rocks. Whatever the weather there are always beautiful shapes and lines to be inspired by, the local grave yard is a favourite haunt of mine.

 The local grave yard with beautiful old stone crosses and derelict church.

The weekends will cover making lines and shapes in your sketch book then making printing blocks of your designs and printing onto fabric and paper. These prints will then be layered and cut back into and separate shapes applied, to create a beautiful surface to stitch - by hand.

Places will be limited to 6 on each weekend, I would like to be able to work with each student individually. We will have fun, listen to music, have lunch prepared for us and generally have a wonderful time together. 
I won't be teaching any of the techniques that are covered by my online workshops on these weekends.

Wrapped vessels made from the stiff interfacing S133 -
Kim Thittichai

The Kilbaha Summer School with Krystyna Pomeroy and Kim Thittichai
4pm Monday 18th – 9pm Thursday 21st June 2018

£395 including materials but not accommodation

An exciting new summer school on the Loop Head Peninsula.

Work with the artists in their colourful and eclectic homes.

Birds in a Minor Key

Krystyna will encourage you to explore design and form. You will make a 3D multi media piece based on bird life.

There will be an emphasis on developing simplicity of form, adding texture through surface finish and maybe stitch.

Creating 3D forms

With Kim you will explore and develop new surfaces with softer and heavy interfacings to create free form sculptures or vessels. You will draw inspiration for colour and textures from the local landscape. The local rock formations, flora and fauna, lichen, flowers, seaweed . . 

There will be 6 places available on each course.

For more information about The Summer School or to book please email Kim –

If you are on Facebook -


Hens - in progress - Krystyna Pomeroy

This is an exciting new venture for me - to work with such a brilliant artist as Krystyna is going to be inspiring . . and fun. We have become good friends since I moved here and I love the instinctive way that she works.

We will be having a 'show and tell' at the end of the Summer School at my house. It will be good to see all the work together and have a chat to everyone on the 2 courses and a few invited guests. 

This will be an annual event - with different themes each year.

I am now getting ready for Jayne to arrive. We will be filming the first 2 sessions of the new 6 month online version of Experimental Textiles  - 
if you are interested, have a look here - 

Enrollment for Experimental Textiles starts on November 3rd and the course begins on the weekend of 27/28 January 2018.

It's going to a busy and no doubt hilarious weekend. 

x x x

Hello Jill - I am slowly getting organised.
Hello Diana - have finished moving things around now?
Hello Tod - hope you are pleased with the new hairdo - love you. 


Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Unknown Road . . .

The beginning of my collection of limpet shells, with holes in.

I have had a few days off to explore County Clare a bit more. My friend Jill has been staying for a week and between answering emails and bookings and all my usual admin I have got out and about. Although we are now in October and the light is generally low - we didn't have too much rain and actually had a few days when the sun shone.

We, and several other friends, all adore the lichen on the walls over here. Some if it grows so long it waves at you as you go by! It makes for a beautifully subtle colour palette.
 One place that I have been to visit that is quite local to me, 40 minutes drive, is Vandeleur Walled Gardens. 
It has always been highly recommended, and now I have visited this fabulous place, I can understand why. What a treasure to have so close by.
The walled garden would be a joy at any time of the year with all the quirky colours and structures. The gardeners are really interesting to talk to, in fact everyone we met was lovely and obviously cared greatly for this wonderful place. The food in the cafe is fresh and made on the premises - and the cakes . .  oh my! Delicious. The most amazing thing about this place is that entry is free. I shall returning again and again. 

Abandoned and untended, the garden was ‘lost’ for many years – but redevelopment of the Garden began in 1997. In 2000, the first flowers were replanted within the walls and the Garden opened its gate to the public – ready to share its secret once more.
The redesign of the garden incorporates the old path system but now contains many new and different plants. The garden features a dramatic red theme – such as the red summer house, benches and doors – to make sure there is bright colour and life, all year round.

Jill following the labyrinth.

Even in October there was colour to enjoy. I loved this subtle pink hydrangea next this grey stone wall.

We chose what we thought might be the best day to have a day out on The Burren. The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs and Fen. It is a fascinating area to visit. Whilst it is beautiful in the bright sunshine, I do prefer to explore it when the clouds are grey, giving it a mean and moody look. 

This is one of my favourite views.

Wonderful textures.

A photo of the artist in her element, up on The Burren.
Courtesy of Jill Crowther - thank you baby.

We had traveled up to The Burren to find the The Hazel Mountain Chocolate Cafe.  I had heard about it from a local friend. Wow!! What an amazing place - they grind small batch cacao beans onsite to create their own range of chocolate. The chocolate factory is well worth the trip alone. But the cafe - oh my goodness. It has it's own style - just wonderful. The food is splendid, all freshly cooked on the premises with home grown produce.

Hazel Mountain Cafe.

Wonderful homemade cakes - note the tea pot lights!

I had the chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and Jill had the carrot cake - both were excellent.

After the wonderful cake we needed a walk and moved onto the next place on our list to visit. 

I am great fan of the beautiful grey stone that is a signature of County Clare. There are many old churches and abbeys in Ireland and several in my area. I  had heard about Corcomroe Abbey and as it was so close we paid a a visit.

Corcomroe Abbey is situated on the edge of the Burren. It was founded for Cistercian monks around 1195 as a daughter house of the Abbey at Inisloughnaght, Co. Tipperary. The church was constructed in the early 13th century.
It is a beautiful place to wander around and take the usual photos of views through arches. The textures of the stone are fabulous and the grave stones are full of gorgeous lichen.
 The 13th century carvings are still visible.
Wonderful old stone crosses.

We had a great day out. Many of the roads were 'unknown roads' on Google maps. It made us think. Many of the roads we travel in our lives are unknown, but still we take them. Having the faith that all will be well . . . 


Back at home I seem to be fixated with my local bay. Ross Bay. It is one of the bays that can be seen from my house. 5 minutes drive.

The local bays have a remarkable geology, known as ice age pavements or turbidites.

There is an abundance of seaweed in the rock pools left when the tide goes out.

Yet more seaweed.

I am paying much more attention to the seaweed now than the rocks and shells. I can happily spend an hour bent over creating compositions and taking photos.

Such a vivid green.

Now that Jill is back home I need to get on with answering emails and bookings for my teaching here next year. My next post will be all you need to know about my teaching here at home in Ireland. I have been here long now to feel that I can now start to share this wonderful place that I have landed in.


Hello Jill - back home safe, the rope looks very happy here.
Hello Diana, I hope you get to see the lovely Anne Kelly.
Hello Tod, Seaweed - who would have thought!!! x x