Welcome to my world, I am self-taught in the use of pastels; my preferred medium. It´s velvety softness and immediacy of use appeals to me in my interpretation of the countryside; landscapes, mountain-scapes, flora and fauna, and more recently buildings, that are so much part of the culture and history as well as the land. My inspiration comes from the great outdoors, my sheer love of nature and its diverse landscapes in its pure state. I have had several long breaks from painting, each time I am inspired to find my way back to the easel overwhelmed with the breathtaking scenery I find myself immersed in. Ireland and Morocco; two contrasting countries in two different continents, both uniquely beautiful and full of inspiration.
I grew up in England, obtained a grade "B" O Level in Art and studied at Plymouth College of Art and Design. 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.
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 am relocating back to Ireland. The journey is unknown.
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.
After spending 4 years in Spain then 7 in Morocco for most of the year, life 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. Spending time immersed in the lifestyle and culture of the Amazigh indigenous people has been very enriching for me and has influenced some of my work.
I am currently working on a body of work and will be looking to exhibit in the not too distant future. Look out for places showing my work. You may meet me at a market stall somewhere in West Cork; make sure and say hello!.
I am selling my silk scarves and bags, textiles and prints on my Etsy shop ....head on over for a look and perhaps find the perfect gift for yourself or someone else with the ease and safety of buying through Etsy's ecommerce system.
Fine Art Prints of my soft pastel paintings are now available to purchase using the links to my Etsy shop and also through my Facebook page.
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.
What defines us 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. Then, of course, there are the times of mind numbness and of procrastination.
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
Finger knitting on a cotton reel
Dried and preserved flowers
Drawing and sketching
Machine knitting and pattern making
Dress pattern design
Crafts with wood
Special occasion and bridal wear
Structured couture design and execution
I know, it's a crazy amount list and that’s only what I remember. Some I didn’t take to and some I enjoyed later in life when 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 hitchhiking 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. Again, I learnt the use of boning to make structured bodices and loved creating delightful one-off pieces.
Sometimes I lay in a state of half-asleep while a myriad of ideas swim around in my head until they form an exact plan of execution although it can often so easily lost before it gets to paper. But in short, a lot of my design process is done before pencil hits paper, all the details, how to do etc are all figured out in a state of deep restfulness. I am very visual in that respect. For me the urge to create is primal, failure to succumb leaves me deflated, empty and restless. Although procrastination does sometimes weigh in like for so many artistic and creative people. Then, I 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. Then I may lose myself in a pastel painting for hours and only emerge when it's considered complete. I am sometimes quite sure I am not in my own body, some other force is at work around me.
I find that I fluctuate between paper-based artwork and crafts and design processes including dress design, textiles, making bags and I am becoming rather intrigued by handmade shoes. Certain eras in history have a fascination for me regarding the costumes. 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. As a child, I was told 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.
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.
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 mushroom 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. 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.
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.
Look out for them in my Etsy Shop... https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/KarimaRebeccaArtist?section_id=29992194
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
Who doesn't love a bag! We all love them and there are masses of designs out there. It is rare to come up with something completely new as we are all drawing from the same pool of traditional and indigenous symbols, marks, designs and concepts.
In a world that is fast becoming aware that single use plastics have to be replaced with sustainable alternatives, people are reverting to ancient methods of transporting goods and also how they present gifts.
Fabric is used by many indigenous peoples, particularly in the African and Asian continents. In Japan, the Furoshiki approach has been in existence since the early 1600´s and after going into deep decline has seen a rapid revival in recent years to make bags and gift wrappings.
With a square piece of silk, cotton or other fabric, a few carefully placed knots, fold and twists, you have a functional, reusable, washable, lightweight attractive alternative to plastic bags and wrappings.
Silk is particularly useful in this context as it is lightweight, strong and with a close weave. It ties easily with strong resistance to slipping in knots. It is easy to care for, washes and dries quickly and can be multi-functional.
The 90 cm square silk scarves that I produce with shibori designs are ideal for Furoshiki bags as they double up as a scarf or a bag.
I am super excited to bring you the first bags in my collection. Some are of pure silks, ready dyed and my own hand painted silks, some are Hobo style and based on tribal designs from the desert regions of Morocco. There are many ways we can reuse and recycle; using vintage Moroccan Kaftans is one way I like to explore, so I am up-cycling them into some unusual bags.
Check out my Etsy Shop to view and purchase direct. All my bags are one offs, so when they are gone, they are gone!