Blathanna agus Dathanna at The Gallery Listoke

July 2018 to present

An exhibition celebrating the flowers ‘Blathanna’ and colours ‘Dathanna’ found in the Gardens and Artwork at The Gallery Listoke, Ballymakenny Road, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

‘Raindrops on Bluebells’ available at The Gallery Listoke. This piece is in a frame approx 50 x 50 cm. I also have some smaller pieces available at the gallery.

‘Raindrops on Bluebells’ available at The Gallery Listoke. This piece is in a frame approx 50 x 50 cm. I also have some smaller pieces available at the gallery.


Louth Craftmark Summer Exhibition at The Gallery Listoke, 2017

Textile Seascapes on vintage Foxford blanket

Foxford Blues

It's all about blue and white! 
So....new pieces with a story and a history. When I was making a few seascapes last year for the Embroiderers Guild exhibition, I ended up using fabrics that reminded me of Foxford blankets. This time round I thought, why not use an actual blanket! My preferred base to work on for the past couple of years has been báinín tweed.....what's a Foxford blanket, but báinín with a blue or pink stripe? So, the search began - for a blue one! Not as easy as I thought, I contacted Foxford, they no longer make them but checked the warehouse for me, zilch!

I looked online, found vintage pink, but no blue. I visited local charity shops - 'oh, we get them in occasionally, people usually buy them for their dogs'! The more elusive they appeared to be, the more I wanted one. I was delivering some work to Achill and decided to stay a couple of nights in the lovely Bervie Guesthouse, a total escape by the beach and somewhere to recharge the batteries. The morning I was leaving, while chatting to Elizabeth who owns and runs the beautiful Bervie, the conversation somehow came round to the Foxford blanket. Elizabeth smiled and said, wait there a minute.....returned and gifted me a beautifully laundered and folded Foxford blanket. I said, you know I'm going to cut this up? She said, go ahead, just make sure to send on the photos :-)

So, here's a few images of the work as it progressed....

Vintage Foxford Blanket
Textile Seascape being worked on vintage Foxford blanket
Textile Art - Beading on shoreline
French Knots and semi-precious stones added to textile seascape
Aquamarines beaded onto textile shoreline
Bervie Guesthouse Achill Island
Achill sheep keeping watch
Keel Beach, Achill Island

Why the title?

''Home Thoughts from Abroad: Precious Memories''


How many have stood on our Western Shoreline, looked out to sea, and uttered the words 'next stop America'? My mum grew up on Achill Island, my Dad in Donegal at the foothill of Slieve League....both stunningly beautiful parts of Ireland....the sea is in my blood. Both these areas, like so many parts of Ireland, witnessed mass emigration down through the years. What little pieces of home did they manage to pack in their suitcases....maybe the odd blanket made it through. I know when I see these familiar striped blankets, they remind me of home. 
Precious Memories - well, there's a little story there too. Of course all these memories of home are precious, but the 'ingredients' for my seascapes are precious too. For the last couple of years, I've shared a stand at the RDS Christmas Fair with Cecilia Casey who makes the most beautiful jewellery with precious little gemstones. Last Christmas during the fair, we were chatting about her gorgeous pieces and I said wouldn't it be lovely to make an extra special seascape that included some of your lovely gemstones nestling in the shoreline? Cecilia had quietly gathered a collection that she thought I would like and they arrived through my letterbox a few weeks ago - Labradorite, quartz, aquamarine, fluorite, moonstone, to name but a few....I'm still learning. What a delight, they're such a lovely addition to these special seascapes, subtle sheen and texture when the light catches them. Thank you Cecilia!
While pondering a title for the pieces I was thinking of all sorts of 'Memories' titles...Home Thoughts from Abroad sprung to mind, but I wasn't quite sure...was it a little twee? I was on the last leg of my journey home from Achill, the coveted Foxford blanket on the back seat...about 15 mins from home (after a long, long journey that included a puncture!)....I was listening to Fiachna Ó Braonáin on the radio...what did he play?  rarely heard on the radio, yes, Clifford T Ward - Home Thoughts from Abroad - decision made!


 

"Marine" 

Irish Guild of Embroiderers, Selected Exhibition, dlr Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire.

Exhibition continues until 5th November, 2016.

Found Treasures

Irish Linen, vintage fabric, merino wool, silk fibres, yarns, beads.

Textile Art Seascape
Textile Art Seascape with Vintage Fabrics
Textile Art Seascape with vintage lace
Textile Art Seascape Detail
Textile Art Exhibition Lexicon Dun Laoghaire

Beach Walk

Textile Art Shoreline on linen
Textile Art Shoreline on linen - detail
Textile Art Seaweed Shoreline on linen
Textile Art Driftwood Shoreline on linen
Textile Art - Beach Walk Series

 

 

"One Hundred Years of Heritage"

Louth Craftmark Open Exhibition at The Gallery, Listoke

The exhibition celebrates Heritage Week 2016 and will continue until 16th October, 2016.

Dún a Rí Triptych: Forest, Winding Trails, Wishing Well

Needle felting, fabric manipulation using Donegal tweeds, hand painted silk velvets, merino wool, silk fabrics, fibres, yarns, beads.

This triptych was inspired by memories of trips to Dún a Rí Forest Park as children. Parks like Dún a Rí play an important part in preserving our heritage for future generations.

Forest:  More than 40 shades of green in the forest at Dún a Rí! If we struck lucky we might find a few little primroses...

Forest: More than 40 shades of green in the forest at Dún a Rí! If we struck lucky we might find a few little primroses...

Winding Trails:  Which trail to take?... crunchy underfoot with decaying leaves and brittle twigs....decisions, decisions...

Winding Trails: Which trail to take?... crunchy underfoot with decaying leaves and brittle twigs....decisions, decisions...

Wishing Well:  Actually there were never really any decisions to be made, we always knew we were heading straight for the wishing well!

Wishing Well: Actually there were never really any decisions to be made, we always knew we were heading straight for the wishing well!

Found Treasures, Bettystown

Hand painted silk velvet, tweed, vintage lace, báinín, merino wool, sterling silver, yarns and beads.

Found Treasures, Bettystown

Found Treasures, Bettystown

Buried among the vintage beaded fabric.....on the Bettystown shoreline....

Buried among the vintage beaded fabric.....on the Bettystown shoreline....

It only becomes obvious when the light catches it at a certain angle....

It only becomes obvious when the light catches it at a certain angle....

A few little French knots and beads for subtle texture...

A few little French knots and beads for subtle texture...

Fabric layers of Báinín, lace, tweed and hand painted silk velvet

Fabric layers of Báinín, lace, tweed and hand painted silk velvet

At the official launch of Louth Craftmark Exhibition, One Hundred Years of Heritage, The Gallery Listoke, Drogheda

At the official launch of Louth Craftmark Exhibition, One Hundred Years of Heritage, The Gallery Listoke, Drogheda

"Establish Change"

Louth Craftmark Selected Exhibition

An Táin, Dundalk, 2015.

Establish Change: a selected exhibition of innovative design, art and craft, part of the programme of Irish Design 2015 which celebrates Irish Design in many forms.

The brief was to consider an aspect of design which is quintessentially Irish and produce a piece of work that would not only celebrate that design/designer but also change, innovate and transform it.

My inspiration was Belleek China - I used a beautifully intricate flower pot from the 1870's as my starting point and then looked to various patterns and textures that Belleek is renowned for throughout it's history of making in Fermanagh.

Belleek Deconstructed

Belleek Deconstructed

Belleek Deconstructed

'Fragments: Thorn, Texture, Shamrock' celebrates the patterns and textures found in Belleek Parian China.

Belleek Fragments: Thorn

Belleek Fragments: Thorn

Belleek Fragments: Texture

Belleek Fragments: Texture

Belleek Fragments: Shamrock

Belleek Fragments: Shamrock

"RDS Craft Awards Exhibition"

RDS, Dublin and Museum of Country Life, Turlough, Mayo

I was thrilled to have my series of work on Belleek chosen for exhibit at the prestigious RDS Craft Awards. The exhibition opened in Dublin on 12th July and continued for the duration of the Dublin Horse Show.

RDS Craft Awards Exhibition
Breda McNelis Textile Artist pictured at RDS Craft Awards Exhibition with her artwork inspired by Belleek Pottery

The exhibition has now moved to the Museum of Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar where it will continue until mid November, 2016.

The exhibition looked great in The Museum of Country Life, loved the placement of my pieces beside those amazing ceramics.

The exhibition looked great in The Museum of Country Life, loved the placement of my pieces beside those amazing ceramics.

The paparazzi were out in force....with fellow textile artist Ciara Harrison

The paparazzi were out in force....with fellow textile artist Ciara Harrison

Museum of Country Life Mayo

"Entwined Memories"

A selected exhibition by members of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland - Knitting & Stitching Shows, Dublin, London and Harrogate, The Model Sligo.

'The textile exhibition Entwined Memories evoked a myriad of responses and inspiration from textile artists and designers. Work in this exhibition was made in response to memories, threads and stories of life and nostalgic tales' ...Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

I was delighted to have two pieces of my work selected for this exhibition. 'The Sunday Spin - Our feet now touch the Ground' and 'Bective and Beyond'.

The Sunday Spin: Our feet now touch the Ground

This is one of my favourite pieces and came about quite by accident. When the brief for 'Entwined Memories' exhibition arrived in my inbox my head was buzzing with ideas. The theme of memories can be so wide and varied it was actually hard to focus on one idea, my mind was constantly rambling. I kept going back to a particular photograph from our family album that I love.

Purely by chance, last year, the family happened to be having lunch in the vicinity of The Hill of Slane where the photograph was taken c. 1967. I thought it would be fun to try to recreate the scene, not having any notion that I would end up using it the following year to create an exhibition piece! We laughed and giggled as we tried to get our positions just right. In the original photo I noticed, I was sitting tight to the edge of the wall so that the tips of my sandals actually touched the ground, trying to be so much bigger than I was - hence the title 'Our feet now touch the Ground'.

 

Breda McNelis Textile Artist
Breda McNelis Textile Artist
Breda McNelis Textile Artist
Breda McNelis Textile Artist
Breda McNelis Textile Artist

 

Bective and Beyond

Inspired by memories of trips to Bective Abbey as children. I've always loved abbeys and ruins, there's just something about them. As children they were fun to run around and play in as we discovered all the nooks and crannies.  I find it hard to pass a ruined abbey today without having a little ramble around. Some of these pieces are inspired by more recent visits to Holy Cross Abbey, Tipperary which was beautifully restored in the 1970's.

Breda McNelis Textile Artist - Machine stitch on soluble fabric
Breda McNelis Textile Artist - Machine stitch on soluble fabric
Breda McNelis Textile Artist - Machine stitch on soluble fabric
Breda McNelis Textile Artist - Machine stitch on soluble fabric
Breda McNelis Textile Artist - Machine stitch on soluble fabric

"Connective"

Louth Craftmark Open Exhibition 2012, Abbey Gallery, Drogheda

 

Work in progress....lots of French knots

Work in progress....lots of French knots

Burren Walls, Co Clare

Burren Walls, Co Clare

Breda McNelis - Burren Walls detail
Burren Walls Triptych - Breda McNelis
At the official launch of Connective, Abbey Gallery, Drogheda

At the official launch of Connective, Abbey Gallery, Drogheda

Ochre Lichens

Ochre Lichens

Ochre Lichens

Ochre Lichens

 

"Nature"

A selected exhibition by members of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland: Knitting and Stitching Show, Dublin 2013, Ballyroan Library Dublin, Glór Ennis

 

Driftwood

Inspired by shoreline walks....there's always some little treasure to be found - sea glass, pebbles, shells and sometimes a lovely piece of gnarled and weathered driftwood.

Silk velvet, manipulated synthetics, merino wool, silk fibres, beads

'Driftwood'

'Driftwood'

Breda McNelis - Driftwood Detail
Breda McNelis - Driftwood Detail
Breda McNelis Textile Artist - pictured with 'Driftwood' at the Knitting and Stitching Show Dublin

"Seascapes"

A selected exhibition by members of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland: Knitting and Stitching Show, Dublin 2011, Craft Granary Cahir, Co. Tipperary, County Library Tallaght, Dublin

My selected pieces for 'Seascapes'  were inspired by studies of oyster shells - rough rugged textured shells with smooth shiny mother of pearl interiors - so much scope for exploring with textiles.

'Oyster Run' focuses on a close up detail of the exterior of a giant clam oyster shell, beautiful undulating curves with many textured layers.                                                      'Oysters and Pearls' reflects the smooth iridescent interior of the oyster shell.

 

Oyster Run

Oyster Run

Oyster Run

Oyster Run

Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls