My inspiration comes from a few different places and they all join to make where I am now in the design Process.
Firstly as a child I was lucky enough to have a very talented Grand mother who Knitted Aran sweaters to be sent to the States so creating with my hands and creative thinking was always something that came naturally. I don’t remember ever learning how to knit, it was just a thing we did in the family. My Parents are both very creative in their own way and very much encouraged me to pursue this side of my mind.
Secondly and again related to my childhood, we had heavy Foxford blankets on our beds and actually we had Bainin fabric from Foxford as curtains also in the house so that texture of wool and the weight of it was something that was very familiar and that i still love to this very day. I remember being tucked up in bed under a couple of blankets and feeling so safe and warm, calm and protected, I want to emulate that feeling of safety, weight and heat for today’s worlds that is so volatile in many ways.
Thirdly I love strong colour I live for it. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the country, Co Mayo and the country side is Beautiful and green and luscious but it can also be grey and wet and a little down trodden depending on the time of year, what I like to do is introduce bright colour and texture into this world that will evoke all these feelings that i have mentioned previously (safety, warmth, weight, protection, calming) to enhance the mood and experience of the this environment.
The textures I create are specifically chosen to reflect the traditional stitches of our Aran and knitting heritage translated onto a hand weaving format.
I have created a range of Scarves, Cowls and Blankets created using 100% Lambswool, to reflect all these influences, transporting the wearer back to a more innocent time, evoking happy memories, cocooned in a woolen blanket, feeling the weight and protection of it.
I studied in the NCAD Graduating in 2005 with a degree in Woven Textiles, how ever I didn’t come back to weaving until 2014.
In my Studio over Jeramiah Higgins in Claremorris I have three foot powered floor Looms one Toika Loom and One Gilmakra Loom and a very old Donegal Loom, these are traditional looms with no electrical power at all everything is worked by the power of hand and foot. Two are Scandinavian looms and they are my babies. I make every piece myself, each cowl/scarf/blanket is unique and has its own fingerprint, I don’t plan out a pattern of colour instead i work on the loom designing as I go to end up with completely individual pieces of work.
Each Blanket / scarf takes approximately 5 hours start to finish depending on the complexity of colour combination.
I work out of a studio in Claremorris Co Mayo.
At the moment i source my yarns from a Scottish spinning mill called JC Rennie so far it is the only mill I have found that have such a large range of strong and dense colour. They use methods of spinning and dying the wool that have changed little since before the industrial revolution still engaging their old water wheel to create power for some of the operations.
I design more for a certain character, some one who enjoys texture and colour who values the hand made and individual way of life be it rural or urban they have a sense of nature that they like to surround themselves with in their home and their bodies.
They are proving very popular at the moment. The Idea of a throw away life style is changing thankfully and I believe because of this many people are looking to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time and that strike a cord with them emotionally. Creating the memories and experiences that will inspire them and others in the future.