Saturday, March 14, 2015

We are changing our name!

Hi friends and supporters,

Since our group started nearly five years ago we have grown and developed our skills, techniques and interest in textile art.   We have gone on courses, attended workshops, given workshops, gone on more courses and, of course, exhibited our work to public scrutiny!

We think it is time that our group name also changed and developed into something that is more appropriate to an exhibiting group.

We are a very democratic bunch of women so it took much discussion, emails and ruthless cutting out of names that just didn't come up to scratch, to reach a consensus.  Now we have it and we are really happy with our efforts.  


It is a name that reflects the fifteen elements that make up our group and the year in which we have grown up!   Watch out for our new website and email address - we will keep you informed.

Decision making at Las Rada Tapas Bar

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snippets from our current exhibition at Las Rada

I promised two weeks ago to show you some snippets of the work currently hanging in the gallery space at Las Rada Wine and Tapas Bar, Naas.  This is proving to be a very successful exhibition with lots of positive feedback and one, possibly two, pieces sold.

'Above and Below' by Marie Dunne
Hungarian bats wool, rovings and yarns, hand-dyed Wensleydale curls and silk cocoons. Wet felted and embellished with silk cocoons

'Throwaway' by Helen McLoughlin
Screen print, metallic paint, chiffon with machine and hand stitch

'Marrakesh Courtyard' a group piece produced by five of the group.
This piece was made using block printing with metallic paints on handmade Indian paper, 
layered with chiffon and hand stitch, then mounted onto perspex.  It was inspired by the colourful Moroccan floor tiles in Las Rada.  Rumour has it that it found a buyer!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

'Pigs on Parade'

Did you know that we have our own 'Pig on Parade'?  What is she on about you say!  One of our members, Vanessa Scott Hayward is one of 10 Kildare artists participating in a public arts initiative and fundraising campaign called 'Pigs on Parade', organised by the Jack and Jill Children's Foundation. 

A PIG’S TALE by Vanessa Scott-Hayward - Ref No: 097

A total of 100 unique pieces of pig art, decorated by artists and designers, are on display now in publicly accessible areas around Dublin City for 5 weeks.  The Jack & Jill Foundation are inviting people to find the ‘Pigs on Parade’ with a chance to win lots of fantastic prizes. Each pig will have a code and one must  find 20 different pigs to enter the competition

Vanessa's pig is called : A PIG’S TALE and her inspiration came from the special place the pig had in Irish life.  The pig adorned our first Free State coinage and bacon was frequently the only meat Irish families could afford to eat because they reared, killed and processed it themselves.   As you can see below, Vanessa cut into the body of the pig to draw the viewer in .

The 'Pig in the Parlour' scene inside the pig is inspired by the fact that you would often find a pig inside Irish houses because the landlords would charge extra for the pig house outside. The wording tattooed along its skin tell this story. The gold of its hooves and ears represent the pigs value both literally and metaphorically. 

Vanessa is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Straffan, Co. Kildare. She runs and owns the design firm six0six design which specialises in high quality personalised designs for individuals and retailers as well as artwork and commissions for exhibitions and sale directly to clients. The body of her work is currently concerned with the theme of childhood and storytelling.

A Pig's Tale has been selected from the 100 Pigs on Parade as a Golden Auction Pig.  This means it will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton (Old Burlington Hotel) Gala Dinner / Auction night on Saturday 21st March 2015. 

Pigs of Parade free booklets are available in Dublin City centre locations such as St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre, Trinity College, Arnotts, Jervis Shopping Centre, Dublin Castle, Brooks Hotel, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Avoca, Hugh Lane Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland and Chester Beatty library and via    The Jack & Jill Foundation provide home nursing care for babies with brain damage and provide end of life care for all children who require it from birth to 4 years of age. Each €16 raised will help fund 1 hour of home nursing care

Well done Vanessa.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Collagraph prints

Some of our group had a play day recently, making collagraph prints.   Yes, I had to Google it too to see what it was that we were about to do.  There are lots of YouTube videos out there that will describe it much better than I can.

A collagraph is a print made from a collage of items glued to a base board made of card, metal or similar flat surfaces.   Basically, it is a hand made printing plate which can be used to print onto fabric and paper. We printed without the aid of specialised equipment such as a printing press - so therefore it is a method of producing unique print pieces that is open and available to everyone.  We thought you might be interested in how to do it.

Firstly, it is great fun to be allowed to play with paint especially in a house other than your own so you don't have to do the clean up!   

We used mountboard as our baseplate, cut into small rectangles but you can make it any size you wish. We all brought various bits a pieces which could be used to stick on to the baseboard, with PVA glue, to make a raised pattern or texture.  Some of the items used were: lace, netting, net onion bags, loose weave fabric, threads, twine, doilies, denim fabric, card shapes and labels, rice, spagetti and tin foil.

We made six or seven plates each, with different materials and textures of varying depths.  It is very hard to judge at this stage what will make a successful print and what will just look like a paint blob!  

When the glue has dried on the plate, it can be sealed using a lacquer or varnish so that it can be used over and over again.   We didn't bother with this step as we were anxious to begin printing.

We prepared some papers and fabrics for printing by cutting to a size slightly bigger than the printing plate.  We gathered together paints or inks, brushes, water jars, mixing bowls and we put some newspapers or a folded towel on the table and covered it with some plastic.   Lay the plate down on the plastic, face upwards.   Then we were ready to print.

To print 'in relief' we applied paint or ink to the raised areas of the printing plate with a brush and laid our paper or fabric on top.  Then we applied gentle pressure with our hands or used a brayer to gently press the paper or fabric down onto the printing plate.   We carefully lifted the paper or fabric from the plate and, voila, we had a collagraph print!

If you like the design, you can ink up again and make as many prints as you want or overprint with a different design or the same design in a different direction.  You can also print 'intaglio' meaning the paint or ink is placed on the lowest areas of the plate. 

The print above is the result of using crinkled tin foil - genius!

This print is the result of using the same printing plate in different directions on one piece of fabric.

This collagraph looks very pretty... a cutout butterfly from a wedding table setting glued onto a loose woven bandage.It should have made interesting textures but it just made a blob!

So watch out for snippets of these printed pieces appearing in future work and try it out for yourselves - it is good fun!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Changeover Week at Las Rada

It has been a busy week.  On Monday we took down all of the work that has been exhibiting since December 2nd at Las Rada Wine and Tapas Bar.   That sentence just trips off the tongue, but if you recall the height of the gallery space on the stairs you will understand that it is not an easy process.   It involves ladders, a long wooden pole with a hook on the end of it, strong arms, many hands to hold the ladder and offer 'helpful' suggestions about moving the pole to the left or right!  And taking them down is the easy bit!

Some pieces have been re-hung in new locations to take advantage of different lighting,  but the majority of the work has not been seen in Las Rada before.  We continue to be very grateful to Joanne and Jules for inviting us to use this space.

Here is your last opportunity to see Helen's 'Lightning' piece as it was sold on the opening night:

'Triptique 1214' came down from its position high on the stairwell where its beautiful colours had the benefit of great lighting and was much admired. It is a nuno felted piece onto hand dyed silk using merino wool, silk hankies, soya bean threads and silk threads.   I bet Gaye will be glad to have it back to display in her own home!

Eimear's 'Going West' has gone West too........!     It is a lovely piece showcasing Eimear's skills at French knots and Cretan stitch.

......and Elaine's 'Connemara Heather' has gone to .... well no, it hasn't gone to Connemara, just Clondalkin!  This vibrant needle felted piece includes a smooth piece of driftwood and would brighten up any wall space.

You will have to wait until the next blog post for snippets of some of the lovely new pieces that have been hung this week.....  or drop in to the Tapas Bar to see them in the flesh!   

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Springtime Activity

Well it has been a while since we posted anything.... it seems that most of our group have been struck down since Christmas by one of the many bugs and viruses doing the rounds.  We haven't been entirely inactive and I thought I would give you some updates on the things we have managed to do!

Our work for 2015:
We have embraced the New Year with a new theme.... 'Connection' ... around which all our work will be based for 2015.   

We are hoping to explore how we can bring 
more emotional depth and complexity to our pieces, working individually and in small groups.   

We have started 'notebooks' exploring and
researching what the theme means to each of us (see snippets in the photos accross). 

To some of us it is an emotional connection through family, friendship and love or, perhaps, historical connections to a home or to a piece of land.  To others it is
elements of connection through the process of communication; letters/telegrams and their modern equivalents.

To others it is the skills of one generation
appearing in the next generation.

It is a very broad theme but already there are emotional depths being explored.  

All we have to do now is interpret them into textile art - easy peasy!!  

St Brigid's Arts Festival, Kilteel
Some of our group exhibited in the Art Exhibition in Kilteel from 30th January to 1st February The festival celebrates the coming of spring and revolves around an art exhibition.  There is a lovely opening night with wine, nibbles and music.  The weekend also includes workshops for adults and children, music in many forms, poetry reading around an outdoor fire, lots of singing, some dancing and plenty of tea and coffee served on vintage china.  Oh and the making of St. Brigid's crosses from local rushes.   

Catherine D exhibited and sold a felted piece called 'Four Colours Blue' and Dee K exhibited and sold a stitched piece aptly titled 'Awaiting Spring'. 

Dee says:  ' I always think that once February 1st arrives I am over the worst part of winter. The snowdrops start to appear with the longer, brighter days.  So with new life and colour bursting forth around us there should be plenty of inspiration for textile art'

For more information on the Festival and Art Exhibition go to their Facebook page - Kilteel St. Brigids Arts Weekend.

That is all for now.... next week I will give you a peek at a session we did making a collagraph and printing from it and give you a last peek at the pieces hanging in Las Rada since December before we take them down.