Monthly Archives: January 2014

Traditional Skills – Workshops this week….

Batik Class in KinnityOffaly was abuzz this week with a bounty of traditional skills classes commencing across the county. After months of planning it was a delight to receive such fantastic responses to all of the workshops and, by all accounts, everyone taking part thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

As this is such an important project for Offaly, it’s heartwarming to see the large number of people who want to be part of it, and witness the true depth of attachment for Irish heritage crafts.

Just as an example, Here’s a few words from a lovely lady who took part in Padraig Larkin’s Basket Weaving workshop (in Edenderry) on Saturday:

“Thanks so much, it was fantastic to get an opportunity to try the basket making. I really loved it and I’m looking forward to next week. Are there any other courses available on this subject as I’m interested in developing my basic skills in this area further?

Padraig is an excellent instructor as he gives everyone equal time but more than enough time and makes everything look easy – you learn unbeknownst to yourself and with humour too!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend this course, I enjoyed every minute and I’m looking forward to next week, I’ll probably make a hames of everything but what the hey!”

Also this week we had the following workshops and courses:

  • Batik in Killeigh
  • Felting in Banagher

The following are just some if the classes beginning soon which have places available if you or anyone you know would like to participate:

  • Wood turning in Shinrone this Friday and Saturday (Two day course).
  • Dry Stonewalling beginning in Daingean this Saturday and continues the following Saturday.
  • Pottery begins in Kinnitty in Saturday continues the following Saturday

Next Friday and Saturday there are still places free on the Wood turning workshop in Shinrone.

These workshops not only serve to give people access to such ancient skills, but also highlight the rich diversity of skilled craftspeople we already have in County Offaly.

Check out the training schedule and see how you can be part of this unique event.

Supported by Offaly Local Development

Supported by Offaly Local Development

Tapestry Weaving Ferbane – Update

Due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to reschedule this workshop. Thankfully the date change suited all who were already booked. We are now looking forward to having Frances Crowe in March 2014!




One of the first traditional skills workshops of 2014 is Tapestry Weaving with textile artist Frances Crowe. Frances is an award winning textile artist with years of experience teaching beginners and experienced weavers.

About the Workshop. This workshop will be in Ferbane, Co Offaly. It is a beginners day workshop so no previous experience is required. Frances will supply each participant with a frame to use during the workshop.  Each participant will learn how to put on a warp, weave plain tapestry, diagonal, pattern, texture. Each participant will weave a small sample piece on day one and a more detailed piece on day two.

Dates: 22nd & 29th March

Materials required. All basic materials for the two day workshop will be supplied.

To Book: Click Here

Cost: €20.00

What is Tapestry Weaving? Tapestry is a form of textile art, which according to textile historians has been practiced for more than two thousand years! Traditionally woven on a vertical loom (wooden frame) and simple tools, yet tapestry weaving can create intricate designs, sometimes using hundreds of different colors to make realistic pictures.

However, it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length (called the warp) and those parallel to the width (called the weft); the warp threads are set up under tension on a loom, and the weft thread is passed back and forth across part or all of the warps. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible.


In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each coloured weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. It is a plain weft-faced weave having weft threads of different colours worked over portions of the warp to form the design.

Most weavers use a naturally based warp thread such as linen or cotton. The weft threads are usually wool or cotton, but may include silk, gold, silver, or other alternatives.



About the Tutor – Frances Crowe


I am based in the West of Ireland in my idyllic studio in Roscommon. I work in a variety of materials, paint, collage, mixed media, but my primary thought process is in fibres. I like to collect materials such as wool, rope, cotton, and twist and weave them together to form individual, original works of art.

Tapestry weaving crafted in the ancient way can give warmth and vibrancy to any space.

The art of handwoven tapestry is many thousands of years old and, in that time, the technique has remained virtually unchanged. What has changed and evolved over the centuries is the way in which the medium is used, the purity of its design and execution and the esteem it commands in society as a whole.

Working in the medium of tapestry demands many days and months of solitary labour in the production of one piece, but it is this very thing that I love.”

Frances Crowe works from her studio in Grange, Co. Roscommon. A graduate of NCAD, Frances has taken part in numerous exhibitions both solo and in groups in her career.

Frances has been commisioned to create her unique artwork nationwide, including commissions for Government Offices; Roscommon, Glanbia; Kilkenny, The Heritage Trust, Guinness Hops Store; Dublin and Gateway Lodge, Connemara.

Supported by Offaly Local Development

Supported by Offaly Local Development

Pottery – Shannon Harbour

Pottery- Two Day Workshop

clonmacnoise_pottery_largeComing soon will be a great pottery Workshop with well know potter Damian O Brien. Damian is an experienced tutor and potter, you can see some of his fantastic creations at his studio just outside Ballinahown on the Athlone road.

About the Workshop. This workshop will be in Shannon Harbour, Co Offaly. It is a workshop suitable for beginners so no previous experience is required. Damian will supply each participant with the basic materials required on all days.


You will learn to coil ceramic sculptures, build pots using sheets of clay,  decorate your work using slips and sgraffito.

There are many methods of constructing pottery. Most classes will teach you how to coil, slab and throw pots, sculpt clay, hand-build as well as decorative techniques  such as slip-painting and glazing. Each technique can have its difficulties but practice makes perfect so it is important to stick with it!


Dates: Tuesdays 18th & 25th Feb 2014

Materials required. All basic materials will be supplied.

To Book: Click here

Cost: €20.00

About the Tutor

Being based near the historic site of Clonmacnoise provides inspiration for Damian O’Brien. His deep connection with the history and landscape of Westmeath influences the earthy organic shapes of his mainly salt glazed and wood fired wares.

With over twenty years experience in pottery making, Damian’s understanding and interest in the physical processes of wood firing is reflected in his highly individual and distinctive work. A large range of domestic ware suitable for everyday use and dramatic one-off pieces are available direct from the Clonmacnoise studio.