Friday, 14 December 2018

Education is a wonderful thing.

This is 'Robbie the Skelly'.

I have just finished a 12 week course - Reading You Local Landscape. What a fabulous time we all had.
The joint initiative of Clare County Council, Clare Museum and the Limerick and Clare Education & Training Board (LCETB)
Heritage Consultant, Zena Hoctor delivered the practical course which enabled our group to identify, examine and record the heritage features of our own local area through a combination of fi­eldwork and desk research.

 Our group (on my birthday), at Kilbridget Burial Ground

 We had great fun studying the local geology, architecture, archeology, seaweed, history . . and so much more. It was a great luxury to be a student again. Our group are hoping for a follow up course and we feel we have only just begun our research. Fingers crossed. 
I shall miss the group and it would be good to be able to work together again.

 My project - A Grave Situation!

I became fascinated by the carving on grave slabs in the local burial grounds that I visited. The images can be quite varied but many follow along the same theme.
 Me wearing my 'Robbie the Skelly' T shirt, presenting my project

 Most carvings follow a symmetrical design. Very organised and clear.

 This carving was quite different to all the others I have seen so far.
Almost child like - pagan even.

 I just love the skeleton. Have a look at all those teeth!

 This is a tracing of the photograph of the carving.
 I isolated the skeleton and started to play.
Firstly I flipped and mirrored . .

 The I made a printing block from the design
The finished print is at the top of this post.

 This is our group with the tutors and representatives of the funding bodies.

We were presented with our certificates on Wednesday night at the Bellbridge Hotel in Spanish Point- if you want to see a few more images - click here.

 My T shirt was very popular, with several guests asking if I sold them! Now there's a thought. . . Grave Inspiration!!

The evening was a great success with about 50 guests arriving to hear our presentations. I didn't get back home until midnight . . it really was great fun.


I am now planning my next project - Crowdfunding, to get my studio finished.
I am creating new work to help with the donations and will be writing some new exclusive weekends and week long courses based on the use of found plastic along with a new 3D workshop - again exclusive to the crowd funding donations.
The new Magical Hares series will be available as signed limited edition prints and cards, as well as the 4 originals.

 'When Harry met Sally'.
Number 1 in the Magical Hares series.


 A great sample from A New Starting Point.

If you fancy something to do over the holiday - we have some splendid online workshops for you. The is plenty of sparkle, texture and colour on offer and if you feel you need something more - how about working for a year with me on Experimental Textiles. Have a look at all the courses we offer here.


And breathe . . still 10 days to go.

x x x

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Making plans and coming out to play . . and WOW! 2 years on!

My field this July - with orchids, ragged robin and buttercups, later I have swathes of montbretia and purple loosestrife.

It is time for me to be looking ahead, dot the i's and cross the t's on various bookings that will take me away from home. Yes - I am venturing out into the world again in 2019. It has been a wonderful year here in Ireland, a lot less traveling and a chance to settle. I had time to notice which flowers bloomed when, find more fascinating local places to visit . . and make plans . . .

I moved here 2 years ago today - on my 60th birthday. What an amazing 2 years it has been, I have made friends and settled down. Ireland feels like home now, it has taken this long. There is so much more to learn to learn about this beautiful place, I will be learning about it for the rest of my life.

The teaching here has gone well and bookings have started for next year. I love inviting students into my home for the Look, Draw, Print, Stitch weekend workshops. There is more information here if you fancy a trip out here next year.

If you fancy learning more about Tyvek and other heat distressables,
then Manipulating with Heat could be for you . .

The online teaching was quiet over the summer, I think it was just so hot nobody wanted to do anything. Enrolments have started to pick up in the last couple of weeks. If you fancy trying my techniques in the comfort of your own home then have a look here - There are several videos on each workshop. You get all the information you need, plus an inspiration book on selected workshops.

I have noticed something interesting over the past 6 months, it would seem most of the online students prefer to work on their own, not in a group. One or two have said they find it intimidating to see other students work. This seems to be particularly true on my one year course - Experimental Textiles Online. So I will be using this course as more of a mentoring course. 
The students will still work through all the workshops and develop workbooks, but I will work with them individually.
Generally the students that sign up for Experimental Textiles Online are at a stage in their creative life where they need encouragement to develop their own style and practice. When you are unsure of yourself, this can lead to feelings of not being good enough. 

 Some of the black and white design exercises from 
Experimental Textiles Online.

In future each student on Experimental Textiles Online will spend the year working with me with regular support by email and on Skype once every 2 weeks or so. If anyone is intersted in being mentored by me - then drop me a line and we can chat about it.

Here are a few images from when I taught ExTex (as it was fondly known) in Redditch. You can choose your final project on the online version of the course as well.

 Fabulous work by some very talented girls.

So . . .  next year - in January I will be in Jaipur, India. In April I will be in Inverness. In May I will be in Dublin. In August I will be at Festival of Quilts at the NEC, and in October I will be in New Zealand. All that alongside my teaching at home and building the new studio. It's going to be a busy year next year.
I will be working on my diary for this blog over the weekend - watch this space . . 

Friday, 19 October 2018

It's about time . .

 Playing with Bondaweb and stitch.
I do love seaweed.

It's been a while. I have been settling in and enjoying not traveling about too much. I have been exploring my local area, and enjoying all the colours, textures and patterns. 
It is almost 2 years since I moved to my little slice of paradise on the Loop Head peninsula. It is continuing to be a challenge to support myself out here, but plans are in place to help with that. It takes time to discover what works out here. . and what doesn't!!

 Seaweed in one of the rock pools in Ross Bay.

 Seaweed and crab shell on Glasheen beach.

I am thoroughly enjoying drawing and stitching seaweed and am now seriously into my dry stone wall series of work. 
Getting out and about in this area I keep finding new places to excite - there is an alpaca farm not far from me that spins and dyes the fleece. They are all very well looked after and are fast becoming a great attraction.

 Gorgeous alpacas.

 I am still a very keen beach cleaner on my local beaches and am continually surprised at just what is washed up. And in such large amounts. I am collecting the rubbish I find to start creating  . .  something.

 A small part of a collection of plastic from beach recently.

 Any one who has moved house will know how easy it is to misplace things. It has taken almost 2 years to find my early collection of bead bowls. I was getting quite despondent - and then - I found them, safely packed in a box . . in a bag.

One of my first bead bowls made in 1985.

I have always been interested in making textiles 3D. One of the things I do is make silk fibre bowls which are selling very well over here.  I have listed a few on my Estsy shop if you fancy having a look . . Kims Etsy Shop. 

I have been making some new bowls ready for the upcoming craft fairs.
I have added a few to my Etsy shop . . .


 My teaching -
My Look, Draw, Print, Stitch weekends have finished for this year.  To see my dates for next year - have a look here.

Tricia who came to work with me in May has now finished 3 pieces of work based on one of the designs she created on that weekend.

Aren't these fabulous?

Jaipur January.
I shall be getting about around the world in 2019. In January I shall be teaching on a holiday I am leading in Jaipur. I believe there is one place left.
In April I will be teaching in Inverness and in May I will be teaching in Dublin.  
I will be home during the summer teaching in my studio, then I will be off to teach in New Zealand in October.

My online courses are still available here -

I have been mentoring several students/artists unofficially for a while now and I think it is time to tighten things up. From now on I will teaching my online version of Experimental Textiles as a one to one mentoring course that will last a year. If anyone is interested - do please email me. 

So -  that is what has been happening . . . 
Yesterday I went out on the Dolphinwatch - a fantastic trip that involves, dolphins, wild goats, all manner of sea birds and amazing rock strata.

I managed to one image of a dolphin jumping.

If you are ever traveling in this area it always worth checking if the conditions are right for a trip on the Dolphinwatch.


Friday, 24 August 2018

August - Look. Draw. Stitch and Experimental Textiles Online.

One of Denise's prints

I taught the August session of Look. Draw. Stitch. this weekend. Three lovely students, we had a great time and what fabulous work they produced. I have had to really sort through all the images I took. It has been difficult to choose.

I run the Look. Draw. Stitch. weekends from January to November. So far this year we have ranged from one student to four. Next year when I move into the studio I hope to have six every month. Anyone can come - whether you have worked with me before - or not. Most students just come once, others come a couple of times a year. This weekend we had Susan from Australia. Denise from New Zealand and Rosie from West Clare! Usually students are from the UK or Ireland but these 2 antipodean ladies planned my workshop into their holiday in Ireland - good forward planning.

 We started the weekend with a bit of drawing, nothing too terrifying. I have plenty of interesting things to draw inside and outside the house. We are never short of inspiration.

After we have drawn for a while the students then take a couple of sections from their drawings and make tracing from them.

Rosie, Denise and Susan working on their drawings and tracings.

 This are Susan's traced designs and the printing blocks she made from her designs.

 Denise making a block from one of her designs.

 Rosie making one of her printing blocks.

 Rosie's first prints.

 Everyone getting down to trying out their first prints, getting to know their blocks.

 One of Rosie's designs.
The positive and the negative parts of the deign make the blocks.

We use baby wipes to clean the blocks - and end up with more gorgeous prints to work with.

 Rosie enjoyed playing with this block.

 The first prints from Susan's first block.

  . .  and playing with her second design.

 Susan decided to work with the baby wipes she had cleaned her blocks with. 
Aren't they beautiful colours?
 We played with the prints. Cutting out section and and adding different backgrounds.

 Rosie starting to stitch into one of her samples.

 Two of Denise's prints.

 On Saturday is was plenty warm enough to st outside and enjoy the sunshine 
. . . and the view.

 To give you some idea of the process we cover on the weekend - I am using Denise's work as an example.

 Denise's drawing.

  . . her traced section of the drawing.
The middle right design was used to make the following blocks and prints.

Cutting the self adhesive foam (yellow) and sticking onto the foam board.

 Four blocks - Denise made the first blocks then flipped the design to make two more blocks - mirror images.

 Denise over printing her blocks.

 Three of the combination that you can achieve with these blocks.

 The next piece of work was printed with the other deign that Denise had worked on  - the bottom right of her tracing page.

 Cuttign out parts fo the design to show a different background - in this case, we chose a heavy linen in a toning brown.

 Denise starting to stitch her print.

A bit more stitch - more to come. 

It really was a fabulous weekend, all the hard work paid off. Well done those girls, and thank you.

The next Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend is September 22nd and 23rd or October 20th and 21st. There are still places if you want to come and play at my home in Ireland.
Just email me for a booking form. 


4 of the Journeys from the current Experimental Textiles Online course which started in January this year. 

The second course of Experimental Textiles Online will start enrolling tomorrow.
This is a one year course with regular feed back from me until August 2019.
Interested? Click here . .

The course begins at the end of September. Once you enrol you will be able to view the introduction video and the materials list video. It is wonderful to now be able to teach this course online, reaching out across  the world.

If you would like to develop your own style of work - then this is the course for you. If you would like to speak to me about the course, then do please email me with your phone number and I will will ring you at a time that suits - or we can Skype. The course is a big investment in your time, and money, so I would want to make sure the course is for you . . . 


Hello Jill - not long now.
Hi Diana, so glad you enjoyed the show.
Hello Tod - will speak soon

x x x x