ABOUT GRÁINNE - Irish Textile Artist / Designer
About Gráinne - Irish Textile Artist/ Designer
Gráinne Kenny is an Irish Textile Designer from Gorey, Co. Wexford.
Gráinne studied Textile Design at University College Falmouth in Cornwall, graduating with a Master’s degree in Textile Design in 2007. Grainne’s work is inspired by the beauty, the colours and textures of Irish shorelines and the surrounding Irish landscape along Ireland's Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic way.
Originally trained in the art of hand weaving, focusing on relief woven effects and Jacquard weaving, she also studied mixed media textiles. Throughout her college years, she learnt and developed extensive knowledge and techniques that she now applies to her own designs. It has enabled her to discover her own unique signature style of working with textiles, to create beautiful and functional pieces for the Interior and giftware market. Gráinne set up her business and started selling her work professionally in 2012, starting with small local artisan craft markets to then selling to large trade events such as Showcase Ireland and is now recognised as an established Irish Designer for the past ten years.
Gráinne see's her fabrics and fibres like a palette, painting with the materials using only her hands. Her work is made using combined materials from fabrics to fibres amongst other media to create her sea inspire textile art pieces. She loves to build up interesting surface textures and detail using wool and silk felt fibres, handmade papers, gauze, net, metallic threads, pigment, gold and silver leaf, threads, glass seed beads to seashells that adorn her sea inspired textile art. This is how she creates her contemporary textile art fibre paintings known as 'Sea Studies’. She likes to use processes such as subtle hand stitching, beading, layering, fusing, distorting, heat treatments, dyeing of some fabrics and yarns to manipulating fabrics and fibres as best as she can. Her work is often mistaken as felting, but she uses no felting methods to create her pieces. It is all hand applied with subtle stitching to fabric manipulation and embellishing techniques. From afar her textile art looks like paintings, but up close there is a sense of movement in the way she brings the pieces to life in an almost three dimensional yet painterly way that her work is widely known for.
Each stage of the making process of her textile artwork is built in a series of layers, building from the background to the foreground using lots of rich colours and building surface textures by using embellishments such as beads and seashells amongst other materials. She use's quality Irish and New Zealand wools for their softness that have different varying weights and textures. Each layer is like applying paint onto a canvas by gently pulling strands and layering my materials, so that it creates a scene that Grainne is happy with. Inspiration is from her own photography and drawings, and she intensify the colours and textures slightly. There is a sense of movement in how she applies her materials. She loves to play with different surfaces and combine different mediums and techniques to come up with interesting tactile works. Silver shimmery tones to golden glowing shores and little accents of glass seed beads complete her pieces and each piece from the start to the finished framed product is carried out by Gráinne. . All framing to the final product is carried out by her.
The use of Photography, colour and attention to detail plays a huge role in the creation of her pieces. No two pieces are identical, and this is what makes her work so attractive, unique, and special to the end customer.
Grainne has exhibited her textile art work at various craft and trade shows such as Showcase Ireland and has collaborated in exhibitions with other craftspeople. Her work has featured in various press and magazines from 'House to Home', Irish Tatler, The Irish Times Magazine, The Irish Examiner - Home & Interiors section, Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine, Go Wild Magazine and Womans Way to name a few. She was interviewed by Southeast Radio and even appeared on RTE Nationwide in 2019. She also stocks various gift shops / galleries around Ireland and further afield. Gráinne is a registered member of the Design & Crafts council of Ireland and a member of Design Ireland. She works from her home studio located between Gorey and Ballymoney , it is here that she designs and makes her textile art as well as table and floor lamps and a small collection of resin jewellery, all inspired by her love of the sea.
Gráinne is a past student of University College Falmouth BA (Hons) Textile Design 2003-2006 & MA in Textile Design 2006-2007 Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (Art /Media Campus) National Diploma in Art & Design - Textile Design 2000-2003 and Grennan Mill Craft School in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny 1998-1999 - Craft Course.