Ursula Celano Ireland

A blog to show where the inspiration comes from and to promote further inspiration
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Nice photos just arrived in from India.  It is a nice thing to connect with people from other parts of the world in a meaningful way.

Here’s a feature on my recent conference bag project by the manufacturers in India

Next up in a seres of explorations of Irish Landscapes is this fabric - called ‘Red Barns’.  I have always been very interested in field patterns, corrugated iron, cottages and how these different elements fit together.  

I got an illustration job!!!  It has been a bit of a dream to do something for someone else.  Far less stress.

It was to do a series of images loosely based on landmarks of Dublin.  Here are a few examples.  This was a really nice project for Emily Westbrook and Julie Mankin’s initiative called ‘Delightful Dublin’.  It is a 250 page e-book available for download rather than a paper production.  

The idea is to provide a beautiful support to visitors to Dublin or an interesting souvenir.  Emily has highlighted and reviewed areas in central Dublin which can be enjoyed during a leisurely afternoon.  For a review and a bit more information about it check here :http://www.rmkealy.com/2014/09/12/book-review-delightful-dublin-emily-westbrooks/

I’ve been very pleased to get some commissioned work recently.  This is a conference bag for a Paediatric meeting of 3200 doctors being held in September here in Dublin.  The team and I worked on designs which would be neutral, stylish and feature children.  This is what we settled on.  There is a terrific inner pocket for a tablet computer and a pair of reading glasses.  

I would like to do more projects like this in textiles or an other material.  Please get in touch if it is something of interest.

Doing a few hand printing projects.  It makes a huge mess in the house.  The Kate fabric is for a baby gift.  I don’t like making baby gifts in baby colours as really how long is a person a baby? 

I’m messing around with some christmas things. I thought a cushion saying ‘ho ho ho’ would be nice.  My ink turned out to be pink when it dryed which made it even more abstract than intended.  None of these are really attractive so I might not make them up.  

However, I finally tried out the IKEA textile pens that I bought recently and they are really good. You can see I have tried to rescue the design with some baubles. The circles for the baubles were made by printing with sponges.  

A  Trip to Carlow: Altamont Gardens and Duckett’s Grove

Today was my birthday and we went on a great day trip to some gardens in Carlow which were within one hour’s drive.  It is a beautiful time of year to be in the south east and with the dry sunny weather we were treated to lots of bright golden haystacks in the fields and standing wheat under blue skies with the purple mountains of Wicklow framing the landscape.  

Eight years ago I went to Altamont Gardens and was blown away by the beauty of the gardens, the variety of views and the natural setting.  Since then the gardens of Carlow have become even more accessible and easy to tour thanks to initiatives like Carlow Garden Trails.  The last time we were there we were on our own and today there were a good few people around.  Altamont has an excellent cafe within the walled garden which seems to have been recently opened.  Its a newly built and nicely furnished ‘shack’ and the food was delicious and delivered with the same attention to detail.  We also visited the gothic ruin Duckett’s Grove which is about fifteen minutes drive away and also has a nice cafe.  Both attractions are completely free to visitors.  

It is the summer holidays here and often I am trapped in the house minding children and I have to find some creative outlet which works on the kitchen table.

 I have to be able to supervise them and do something that isn’t toxic and easy to clean up.  For me this is block printing.

At the moment I am obsessed with the beautiful Fuchsia flowers growing here and wanted to do something immediate with this flower.  Block printing is a great way of turning an idea into a real usable ‘thing’ in an hour - rather than weeks.

All you need are the bits and pieces in the picture here and some fabric.  You can cut out shapes onto foam, rubber or lino.  I stick them on plastic or a piece of wood - anything flat.  Once it is dry it is ready to print with. Try out your stamps on paper first so that you don’t waste fabric.  When you are ready stick your fabric down on the kitchen table with masking tape - cover your table if it is precious.  Then you are ready to print.  

I use ‘Permaset’ ink because it is really thick so seems to work well with stamps.  The iron is used to set the ink - and then that is about it.  I’ve only got a few ink colours at the moment so these aren’t the most exciting prints - but anything is possible.

Here is a photo of some good books on printing too.  Enjoy! x