About me | Exhibitions | Artist Life

I am an artist and creative living in the heart of rural Ireland, the south west coast near Kinsale, full of woodlands and beaches. My work is diverse and yet connected as nature’s gifts are my inspiration, the elements too. I am predominantly a mixed media textile artist.

I am constantly inspired by the ever changing landscapes, seascapes, sunsets, sunrises and delights of nature. Some years back I produced a range of cards which became popular and collectable. Elemental Colours combined earth, air, fire, water and metal using papier dechire techniques with tissue papers, handmade papers, threads and gilt powders. In 2020 I reinvented the idea using gorgeous colourful luxurious silks with embellishments. These continue to evolve and become more complex.

I do love fabric as a medium and in particular silk. I find myself drawn to combining a variety of crafts to create a finished idea. I hand dye my own silks, merino wool, silk roving and lace and anything that I find suitable for a piece I am working on.

For me the urge to create is primal, failure to succumb leaves me deflated, empty and restless. Although occasionally, procrastination does sometimes weigh in like for so many artistic and creative people. Then, I will go and immerse myself in nature and look at life from a different perspective, re-connect, re-evaluate, and come back refreshed and with more conviction and hundreds of photographs.

I am self-taught in the use of soft pastels; my preferred medium on paper. It´s velvety softness and immediacy of use appeals to me in my interpretation of the countryside; landscapes, mountain-scapes, flora and fauna. My inspiration comes from the great outdoors, my sheer love and connectedness of nature and its diverse landscapes in its pure and raw state. Over the years since childhood, I have had several long breaks from painting, each time I was inspired to find my way back to the easel overwhelmed with the breath-taking scenery I found myself immersed in.

As a child, I spent many hours out in the fields, walking the lanes where I lived. With a very enquiring mind and a deep interest in all that I see, I learnt the names of so many trees and plants and enjoyed collecting wild mushrooms in the early morning. As an adult, I love wandering the tracks and trails as the seasons change, taking notice of all that grows, buzzes and moves. I spend hours photographing the smallest details just to wonder at them. A huge amount of my inspiration comes from what I observe… and as an artist, observation is key.

When I was quite young, I was encouraged to hand make all my greetings cards and gifts to give and I learnt how to reuse and repurpose things. All that gave me a basis to be able to create something I could monetise in the tough times, and eventually be able to design and produce just for my own enjoyment as well as fulfilling my inner desire to be doing and bringing my ideas to realisation in the real world.  

I grew up in England, obtained a grade "B" O Level in Art and studied at Plymouth College of Art and Design in the late ‘70s. I moved to Ireland in 1990 where I lived and brought up my 2 children for 20 years. The Temperate Zone was my first solo exhibition in Ireland where I showed 20 pieces of original work. I have works in many homes across the globe. After spending 4 years in Spain and then 7 in Morocco for most of the year, life and a six-month lockdown threw me a curve ball and I knew it was time to relocate back to the Emerald Isle. Morocco gave me the opportunity to step back, reassess how I wanted to experience life and to challenge myself on many levels.

My passion for nature is the driving force, my sense of place, of connectedness, of wonder and my boundless enthusiasm are all contributors.

What defines us as an artist is often only the finished pieces we exhibit, sell, Instagram or show online. However, what brings us to the point of being confident to “air our smalls” (we often feel very exposed when our work is on public view) is multi-faceted and often extensively time consuming. Creativity is a drug that must be indulged. To neglect that yearning to make or create, the inner drive to produce something, irrespective of whether it is something saleable or if anyone ever sees it, is to deny your born gifts, your inner light, your intuition ignored and crushed. Sometimes it is a burning need when all else is ignored. Inside you feel the glow, the flame as it grows with the satisfaction of just doing.

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As an artist, designer, foodie and creative being, much of what I observe influences my work. Inspiration too comes from the myriad of places I visit, people I interact with and what I absorb visually in nature. Spending a few hours laid on the cold desert dunes of the Sahara in Morocco, waiting for the first glimpses of the dawn, watching as the sun explodes into a new day inspires me for a silk scarf or a mixed media textile piece. As an introvert, I am quite happy in my own world and yet, in the right company, I will converse for hours on interesting topics. As an empath, I try to impart what I feel in my work, especially equine artwork, I like to take my own reference images as it gives me the opportunity to connect with the animal, especially with the eyes.

In these strange times, one has time to reflect, ponder and wonder. Also to rethink and reset the ways of being and doing. There are multiple strands to my life and yet at their confluence is the whole. I feel now is the time to join the dots. Summer 2020; I relocated back to Ireland.

The journey is unknown. The excitement is real.

You can find my work on the usual social media platforms as well as my Website, Online Shops and in many homes around the globe.

This link will take you to all of the online ones:  https://linktr.ee/rebpowell      

Exhibitions

Everest Touring Exhibition 1992-1993

West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen

Killarney Park Hotel, Killarney

Wellspring Gallery Tralee

Arthive Gallery Cork

 

Works shown at

West Cork Art Centre 1993,96,97,98,99,00,01,02

Half Door Gallery, Killarney 1994

Pier House Glandore,1994,96,98

The Loft, Swords Dublin 1994-5

Bantry Arts & Crafts Exh. 1995,97

Bantry Art Exh 1998

The Bayberry, Union Hall

The United Arts Club, Dublin 2002

The Celtic Ross Hotel

Beara Arts Festival 2002

And various venues around Cork and Kerry Ireland

 

Permanent Exhibitions at

Mary Annes Restaurant, Castletownshend

Cara Gallery and Crafts, Leap

Hayes Bar, Glandore

The Glandore Inn

The Wave Maker, Leap

And various venues around Cork and Kerry Ireland

 

First Solo Exhibition

“The Temperate Zone”

Glebe Gallery, Baltimore 2002

 

Many works in Private collections around the world including Ireland, US, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Morocco.

Currently showing works at Wild Restaurant, Ballinspittle, Kinsale, Cork.

 

Took part in the Kinsale Arts Week 2022

Works currently on show at The Boathouse Gallery, Kinsale. July 2022

Pastel Drawing Blue Door

As a child, I was hugely fortunate to have been exposed to a plethora of crafts, largely by my mother, who, like her mother, excelled in many areas of arts, textiles and design as well as pottery in my grandmothers' case. By the time I was 11, I was sewing my own clothes having already learnt and dabbled in a vast range of crafts. By the age of 13, I was making my own school uniform. My father was an interior designer and architect as was my mothers' father. The others were politicians and I have no need of their skills!

  • Printmaking using all manner of items

  • Crochet

  • Knitting

  • Finger knitting on a cotton reel

  • Tatting

  • Bobbin lace

  • Tapestry

  • Rug making

  • Smocking

  • Cross stitch

  • Felt toys

  • Macramé

  • Weaving

  • Quilling

  • Origami

  • Paper crafts

  • Silk painting

  • Batik

  • Calligraphy

  • Darning

  • Charcoal sketching

  • Collage

  • Flower making

  • Dried and preserved flowers

  • Drawing and sketching

  • Irish crochet

  • Machine knitting and pattern making

  • Dressmaking

  • Dress pattern design

  • Picture framing

  • Crafts with wood

  • Jewellery making

  • Homeware

  • Special occasion and bridal wear

  • Patchwork

  • Embroidery

  • Pastel artwork

  • Textile art

  • Painting

  • Papier mache

  • Toymaking

  • Structured couture design and execution

  • Greeting cards

I know, it's a crazy amount list and that’s only what I remember. Some I didn’t take to and some I am enjoying later in life as I found a different level of patience. Some have been extremely useful and some have been businesses that fed my family. Often I was self-taught and spent many hours with my head in books learning new things.

The Irish crochet was mostly made to sell in a shop in Kenmare which meant hitch-hiking some 70 miles to deliver the finished work and then enjoy some hiking in the Kerry mountains. Incredible fine, delicate work with tiny hooks which I loved doing. Knitting; I made dozens of Irish cable sweaters for a lady and other hand knits for another well-known Irish knitwear business.

When my children were small, I bought an old knitting machine from the milkman and taught myself how to use it. I made dozens of sweaters with cartoons and designs I worked out on squared paper for happy clients and fed my children on the proceeds. Whatever I learnt had to be useful and be something I could make a living from working from home, I was driven and determined. As my pastel artwork took form and flourished, I decided to start a picture framing business as it was an expensive outlay each time a painting needed framing. But I wasn’t content with the regular off the shelf mouldings, I wanted to get the raw wood and build up my own designs and then use different techniques and finishes to complement the artwork. That side-lined into making mirrors with doors and mirrors with collaged finishes.

Each thing I put my mind to side-lined into other ideas like the elemental collage cards and silk painting. Hundreds of those made their way to craft fairs and shops, collected and framed. Sometimes it was because I disliked wasting leftover things that new ideas were formed. I saved offcuts from silk painting cards in the early 2000s until a new idea came to life in 2020. Textile art using silks took form and the elemental colours were reborn.

I have been making clothes since my teens and eventually branched into the special occasion and bridal wear market as there was a need for it in rural Ireland. I was busy and happy. Such a delight to design and create someone’s dream wedding outfit and watch them walk down the aisle. One of my greatest pleasures. I learnt the use of boning to make structured bodices and loved creating delightful one-off pieces.

I don´t like putting people in boxes, least of all myself, but I would consider myself an introvert; a recent revelation which made so much sense to me and how I was, growing up. Solitary suits me well as a creative person and yet in certain situations I am the leader of the pack… on my terms. I am also an excellent team player. A water tiger in Chinese astrology and of course a Virgo, with Gemini rising on the cusp with Leo. I didn´t know what time I was born, but when I discovered the extraordinary amount of twos of things I own, there was little doubt. Mercury full on.

For me, nature is not a place I go to be in, it is part of me, it is like one of my limbs, we are not separate entities, we are intertwined.

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TEXTILE ART and MIXED MEDIA

We are all born as Artists, it just depends whether we choose to continue being one.

Art should also be about having some fun, discovering new techniques, mediums and materials.

Mixed Media work is all about that.

I discovered mixed media work probably by accident as a child. I had some wonderful books about crafting, paperwork, printing, collage and much more, I was also lucky enough to have the materials to experiment and try out many techniques not just on paper, but also on fabrics and wood.

I was often out and about in nature too and found objects were and still are a delight for me.

Some years back I started a line of greetings cards using selected handmade papers, tissue papers, silk threads from Morocco, gilded threads and tiny tiny shells I found in one particular beach. They became very popular and I discovered they were being collected as each one was unique. I also offered them in sets of elemental colours framed.

Different circumstances meant I no longer continued making them; much as I enjoyed the process. I still have a few which you can see below.

In 2020, I was inspired to create the textile version of my Elemental Colours Range and am very excited to add the first ones here. They depict the Ocean, Earth and Fire as well as the Desert. These continue to evolve and become more complex.

Look out for them in my Etsy Shop... https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/KarimaRebeccaArtist?section_id=29992194

Also in my Shop in Ireland platform.

HAND PAINTED SILK SCARVES

I adore painting on silk. Every piece produced is completely unique as the techniques and processes to move the dyes make it

impossible to repeat. The colours are incredibly vibrant; I use Dupont steam fixed dyes which are superb quality and imported from France. Pure silk is easy to care for; rinse in cool water with a natural soap if required, air dry away from direct sunlight and iron with a cool setting while still slightly damp. If the scarf has some embellishment then iron on the reverse side. Dyes are fixed by the steaming method and then the scarves are rinsed till the water runs clear. Silks are 100% pure and are either habotai in different weights, crepe de chine or silk satin in a range of rectangles and squares.

I use different techniques to obtain the results, sometimes dying twice to get the depth of colours and amazing designs. Shibori or Tie dye as it sometimes is called, is Japanese in origin and often used for indigo dyes. It incorporates twisting, stitching, tying, pleating and folding the fabric before applying dyes. Arashi (meaning "Storm") Shibori is when the silk is wrapped diagonally around a pole, then bound with string and pushed up like an accordion before adding dyes; I like to twice dye the silk using this method to get interesting depths of contrast.

Salt is used to manipulate the dyes when painting on a stretched flat surface which offers endless possibilities. I think three or four colours is sufficient to use in each scarf to keep it clean, vibrant and attractive, easy to match with an outfit or as a stand alone accessory.

Wearable art clothing in lustrous silk is a wonderful gift for yourself or someone else.

These are now available in my Etsy Store...https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/KarimaRebeccaArtist?section_id=29890139

Also in my Shop in Ireland platform  and on wildlycreated.com