Hand-weaving is alive and kicking in Annyalla
In Monaghan, true to Ireland’s Ancient East traditions, textile designer Liz Christy is keeping alive the ancient craft of hand-weaving at her studios in Annyalla in Castleblayney. The process is slow, from the dyeing of the wool and making the warp (the design) to weaving a piece, be it a scarf or a wrap.
“I love the whole process and there is a bit of magic involved, as one never knows exactly how the colours will look when they are woven together,” says Liz.
Liz is influenced by the Impressionist painters and particularly by Claude Monet as well as by the colours of nature in her native Monaghan. “I believe in the power of colour to lift your mood and enhance your well-being.
“I especially like purple and there is a purple thread in all of my work,” says Liz.
To coincide with the Monet exhibition, Monet and Architecture in The National Gallery in London (which runs until the end of next month) Liz created her own Monet-inspired Collection drawing inspiration from the wonderful azure blues, purple and pink hues in Monet’s work.
She has been commissioned by The National Gallery in Dublin to interpret their most popular painting The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, into a scarf which, in turn, is selling very well. Liz likes to think of each of her handmade pieces as “a piece of art inspired by art.”
But it is not just classical, figurative art which inspires her she is heavily influenced by the beauty and colours of nature and the drumlin countryside of Co. Monaghan, Patrick Kavanagh country. The poetry of Patrick Kavanagh who lived only a few miles away, is the basis for her Kavanagh Collection. The tradition of lace-making in the Monaghan towns of Carrickmacross and Clones are the inspiration for her Renaissance Collection.
“The concept of Ireland’s Ancient East pulls all the threads from the past together to explain the richness of the present,” says Liz.
She is currently working on a piece inspired by a Harry Clarke stained glass window in the Church of Ireland St Maeldoid’s Church in Castleblayney.
“The local Church of Ireland congregation have kindly lent the use of their church to the Catholic congregation while St. Mary’s is refurbished. Being that we are located only three miles from the border with Northern Ireland, I think that this is a hugely significant and positive gesture ”, says Liz.
“I hope to complete my work in time for the reopening of St. Mary’s and to present a commemorative piece each to the Protestant Minister of St Maledoid’s and the Catholic Parish Priest of St. Mary’s,” she says. “I love talking and telling the background stories to the visitors who come to Swallow Studio and I also enjoy watching them as they see how the loom works to weave the scarves and wraps.
Watch a video here about Liz:
Visitors can see Liz at work for themselves. Check out Liz’s website www.LizChristy.com or ring 00 353 429746614 for more details.