Do you love learning new things? When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in 1998, I was devastated. I had to give up my landscape maintenance business, I couldn’t drive, I had no energy and I ached all over. I started to research how I could help myself without going down the route of painkillers, steroids etc.
The following year I went back to college to do a one-year part-time Access to Art course. I was exhausted but I kept going. That led on to another part-time course, this time a three-year Higher National Diploma in Design Crafts. I learned how to pace myself, what media I could work with and which to avoid. I worked with soft fibres and taught myself lots of different basketry techniques which I developed into a collection of small sculptural baskets. I showed some at New Designers, Chelsea Craft Fair and The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s National Craft Gallery, and won awards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales and the RDS National Crafts Competition. All great for the CV but not very commercial!
Fast forward to 2017, and following on from a chat with business adviser, I looked at ways of using my drawings to make a living from doing something that I love, and in the process try to raise awareness of the magic of Nature, our home. I came across designer Rachael Taylor and her wonderful supportive online community, and worked my way through three of the Make It In Design modules, learning loads about the world of surface design, digitising my drawings and working them into patterns.
I had some designs printed by Pixalili, based here in Ireland, and did my first markets at Christmas 2018. I love the market community, meeting customers and their dogs, and talking about my designs. As markets are quiet early in the year, I use the time to watch some Skillshare videos, hone my design skills and play with media, watercolours of late. The photos show some work in progress. So now you know what I get up to during the winter, hiding away in rural West Cork. I hope you’re well, and looking forward to the wonderful sounds and sights of spring. Slán go fóill. 💚