It has been a while since our last post, but we have been very busy since returning from Easter Break.  Our students are currently in full swing, getting ready for their Graduate Show ‘Crossover’, which takes place in ‘The Cow Shed’, Farmleigh, The Phoenix Park.  This showcase of work will feature an exciting blend of Textiles, Illustration & Graphic Design and runs from May 19th-24th 2015.  At the moment, 2nd year students, across the three disciplines have their heads down and are working really hard to finalise the pieces for their show.  It is great to see it all in production and during the selection of the final pieces this week, it was exciting to finally see all of the work come together, just a few steps away from being framed and exhibited.  We hope to see you there……..

This weekend, we will be posting a lengthy blog about a hugely inspiring visit and guest lecture by curator and jeweller, Debbie Paul, there will be imagery and information about our recent workshops in dyeing, tapestry, feltmaking and screenprinting and we will be featuring the beautiful work of our graduate Laura Jordan in our Graduate Profile.



It’s All In The Eyes……..

Its that time of the year again when interviews for the 1st round places have just been completed for the courses at Ballyfermot College of Further Education.  We really enjoyed seeing the portfolios of applicants and meeting everyone during last week.  The applications are now re-opened for Phase 2, so if you are interested in any courses,  including the Textile Fibre Art Course, please apply online at, before the closing date: 24th April 2015


We have a few exciting things coming up in the next few weeks, which we will be featuring on our blog….so stay tuned for that.  One of those is our Graduate Show, which features the work from 2nd Year Textile, Illustration & Graphic Design students.  We are looking forward to returning to Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park again this year and the exhibition will run from 19th May 2015.  The students are currently working really hard at developing their final pieces for the exhibition, which promises to be a visually rich and varied collection from all three disciplines.  We will be posting the details and some sneak peeks on here in the very near future!

We are delighted to feature a very recent graduate this week in our Graduate Profile, Rebecca Deegan.  Rebecca, while a student on the course, displayed a strong interest in and a great handling of mixed media and painting.  Her drawing skills and ability to create mood and atmosphere in her work were always strong points.  This has remained and has been pursued even further in her most recent collection.  Since leaving the Textile Fibre Art course, Rebecca has been extremely busy creating and showcasing work in various locations, both in group shows and a solo artist. (See Rebecca’s C.V. below).  She is also currently working as an assistant at the Shimoda Centre, Portlaoise, aiding in art workshops for children.

'Adrasteia' - Acrylics on canvas

Rebecca at her most recent exhibition beside ‘Adrasteia’, Acrylics On Canvas

Mainly concerned with the human figure, Rebecca aspires to create atmospheric pieces using the face and body as her inspiration. Her current selection of work focuses mainly on the face, particularly the expression in the eyes of her subject. She uses mostly acrylic and oil paints, and sticks to a restricted palette. Observing how the light falls upon her subject is an important part of her paintings. She strives to use strong and dramatic lighting to achieve her desired outcome and to create contrasting tones.

Rebecca’s interest in portraiture as well as the full figure has led her to explore the character and personality of her sitters.  Additionally, this has progressed to a series of detailed ‘eye’ paintings (see header) which are full of expression, if sometimes unsettling as they stare out from the frame at the viewer.  They possess different qualities and are beautifully painted in a highly realistic manner, some appearing frightened or sad, some challenging and serene.

In support of this figurative painting, Rebecca consistently draws to update her skills. This allows Rebecca to further explore various media, grounds and poses on different scales.

We really look forward to seeing what Rebecca does in the future…………

To see more of Rebecca’s work or to contact her regarding commissions:

Go to her website:

Or her Facebook page:

Or email Rebecca:

Rebecca’s C.V:

  • Full Time Education
    2011 – 2013: Higher National Diploma in Fibre Art and Textile Design
    Ballyfermot College of Further Education
    2010 – 2011: Art, Craft and Design (FETAC Level 5)
    Abbeyleix Further Education Centre
  • Work Experience
    Sept 2014 – present: Shimoda Centre, Hynds Square, Portlaoise.
    Assistant in children’s art workshops + adult classes.
    February 2013: Primary School Drawing Class at Mountmellick Library.
    Taught basic drawing skills to primary school pupils.
    Solo Exhibitions
    March 2015: Rebecca Deegan – Solo Show
    Mountmellick Library, Mountmellick, Co. Laois
    January 2015: A Collection of Artwork by Rebecca Deegan
    Naas Arts and Culture Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare
    Selected Group/Joint Exhibitions
    November 2014: Dunamaise Arts Centre – Open Submission
    Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
    October 2014: Encourage – Group Show
    Shimoda Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
    July 2014: Feile an Phobail Exhibition
    St Mary’s University, Belfast
    July 2014: Queer As Folk – Group Show
    White Lady Art Gallery, Wellington Quay, Dublin
    November 2013: Dunamaise Arts Centre – Open Submission
    Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
    May 2013: Barking Dog – BCFE Graduate Show
    Avenue Road Gallery, South Circular Road, Dublin
    February 2013: Dreams, Nightmares, Fears and Freud
    Joint Exhibition – Rebecca Deegan and Donna Kearns
    Mountmellick Library and Gallery, Mountmellick, Co. Laois
    July 2012: Dreams, Nightmares, Fears and Freud
    Joint Exhibition – Rebecca Deegan and Donna Kearns
    Abbeyleix Library and Gallery, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois
    December 2011: Dreams, Nightmares, Fears and Freud
    Joint Exhibition – Rebecca Deegan and Donna Kearns
    Templemore Library and Gallery, Templemore, Co. Tipperary
    May 2011: Abbeyleix F.E.C. End of Year Show
    Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
  • Publications:
    July 2014: HeadSpace Magazine: Issue 3
    ‘Anxious’ – Acrylic painting published

Business, Moths & Butterflies

Last week, the Textile Fibre Art students enjoyed another guest lecture, this time entitled ‘Launching & Selling Design-Led Products To Market’ by Dena Nolan, a freelance consultant for enterprise.

Dena has been working in the sales, marketing and innovation space  for over a decade and has worked with companies across the world.  Now an independent contractor she has a significant portfolio of results-focused projects working in areas such as producing a quality profitable product, maintaining and developing sales, while also anticipating and understanding the buyers/ retailers, needs and requirements. She has worked with a portfolio of clients on trade and consumer shows.  Dena has hosted , staged and facilitated consumer and trade exhibitions at National & International Level as well as worked in Permanent Trade Showrooms. She has a significant results-based methodology in mind focusing on her clients’ requirements at all times.

Her unique negotiating and development skills were developed in the property market, subsequently transitioning into product design led field whilst working in the USA, for high end luxury interiors business. Her previous positions have involved engaging with (UK), Sea World/ Busch Parks (USA) Notre Dame (USA) Marks & Spencers (UK), Kilkenny Group (Ireland), House of Fraser (Ireland) Meadows & Byrne(Ireland) to name a few.

Having experience as being both the buyer and seller, Dena understands the complexities involved in the logistics and producing a quality profitable product, maintaining and developing sales but also anticipating and understanding the buyers/ retailers, needs and requirements.

To our students, Dena delivered an energetic and interactive day-long programme on understanding the strategy development and planning for proposed artifacts and products.  This workshop included advice on developing and refining research, critically reviewing a market and sales strategy.  The students were enthused and became more focused on the further potential of their own artifacts, which are currently being evolved.  Dena immediately established a connection and understanding with the students and they found her guidance highly beneficial to the direction of their own work.

We are delighted to continue our Graduate Profile this week, with another of our highly successful students, Emma Noonan.

Emma has consistently built her portfolio of work since she left the Fibre Art course, firstly as a student of G.M.I.T. and then as an independent maker.  This is a testament to the hardworking attitude she always displayed as a student and maintains as a professional artist.  Emma has returned to B.C.F.E. regularly to openly share her advice with students and to impart her skills and experience, which they have found invaluable.

From a very young age Emma always had a keen interest in art and after secondary school she began her college career in B.C.F.E. studying for a Higher National Diploma in Fibre Art.  After B.C.F.E., Emma went on to G.M.I.T. Galway and studied for an Ordinary Degree in Fine Art & Design for three years, finishing off her college career with an add on Honours Degree in Applied Design in Textiles.

Moving back to her family home in Delvin Co, Westmeath, Emma began her career as an independent artist. Emma took part in exhibitions with G.M.I.T., showcasing her work at New Designers in London and at The Knitting & Stitching Show Dublin in 2010. She also set up a solo exhibition in Trim Co, Meath, where she was approached by local TD Ray Butler to exhibit during Trims St Patricks Day celebrations in 2011.

Building up connections during this time with the owners of The Garden Gallery (now the Purple Raven Art Gallery) in Delvin, lead to two pieces being sold to the O.P.W. These pieces were entitled ‘Ornamented’ and were from Emma’s graduate collection.  They are now part of the Irish State Art Collection.  One piece hangs in Trim’s O.P.W. buildings and the other piece hangs in the offices of the Taoiseach. This was a huge start to Emma’s career in the art world and she has continued to work independently, inspired by her surroundings, for the past four years as a Textile artist.

'Ornamented' by Emma Noonan.


In her practice so far,  Emma has created a collection of delicately painted silk scarves, which have been exhibited at various design and craft fairs and as part of a Crafts Council of Ireland Exhibition. In addition Emma has created a collection of beautifully detailed, handmade paper embroidered butterflies, which have travelled across Ireland and Northern Ireland as part of group and solo exhibitions.

Hand Painted Silk Scarf By Emma Noonan

Hand Painted Silk Scarf

Paper embroidered Butterfly 2

Embroidered Butterfly, Handmade Paper & Stitch


Continually looking to enhance her own work and its development, Emma has involved herself in business courses, product development courses, ‘Artist In The Community’ work and craft groups. At the moment Emma is working as an Art Technician, while continuing her personal work.

'Release', Strong Women Exhibition

‘Release’, Strong Women Exhibition

In her work, Emma enjoys the combination of traditional textile techniques and fine art and continues to draw and paint to explore new ideas.  During her college years, Emma studied the various approaches of textile making, fine art and crafts, which included embroidery, handmade paper with embellishments and batik paper. Emma has continued to use these techniques in her work and practice to date.

Below are specific details of Emma’s experience so far:

Made in Westmeath Member 2012-2014

Crafts Council of Ireland Member 2010-Present

Sponsored by Westmeath County Council awarded the ‘Artist Bursary Award’, 2012, 2013, 2014

  • Art Technician Internship with Scoil Mhuire Trim, Co Meath, Since November 2015
  • Artist in The Community St Colmcille’s National School, Gainstown Mullingar. 12 week artist in the community Textile project, 2014

Exhibitions :

  • Strong Women Exhibition Purple Raven Art Gallery Delvin Co. Westmeath, 2014
  • Art Source Solo exhibition representing BCFE as past Graduate RDS Dublin,2013
  • Culture Night Exhibition at The Garden Gallery,  Delvin Co. Westmeath, 2013
  • Easter Art Expo Group Exhibition at The Higher Bridges Gallery, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh,2013
  • Nature through Art Group Exhibition WWT Castle Espie Gallery, Comber, Co. Down, 2013
  • Trasna 111 Group Exhibition Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery, Co. Clare,2013
  • Art Source Gallery Exhibition as member of the Garden Gallery Delvin, Co. Westmeath, 2013
  • Beauty in Nature Exhibition of Textiles in conjunction with the CCOI & GANS. On display at the Knitting & Stitching Show RDS & Ballyroan Library, 2013 & 2014

Design & Craft Shows

  • The National Craft & Design Fair 2012, 2013, 2014.
  • Knitting & Stitching Show 2010, 2012, 2014.
  • New Designers2010.

Publications & Interviews

  • The Metro Eireann NewspaperFashion Forward with Tolu Omoyele Style Patrol “The Pattern for Success” 15th ~ 31st October 2012. Vol 13 issue 24 pages 18 & 19, Graduate Collection.
  • The Liffey Champion Newspaper Report on Kilcock Golf Club, Art & Craft Fair Charity event, By: Emer Kelly. 25th ~ 26th of May 2013.
  • Art Review of Easter ExpoHigher Bridges Gallery, Enniskillen, April~2013. By: Jenny Cathcart.
  • Fireside Sounds with Marian Shanley West Ireland’s first live web TV channel provider. Feb 14th 2013.

To contact Emma visit her website at:

Follow Emma on Facebook:

To apply for Fibre Art:


Course Co-Ordinator:  Orla Daly

Knit, Tapestry, Painting, Shibori & A Peacock!

We have had yet another busy week on the Textile Fibre Art Course here at B.C.F.E.  Our students have been extremely busy working on projects for upcoming deadlines, but we managed to squeeze in some workshops along the way in Tapestry Weaving, Creative Knit, Painting and Shibori.  These yielded some really exciting & interesting results and will be further developed in finished pieces….the pictures of which we will be posting soon!

Here on our blog, we have a new feature which we are delighted about….a weekly ‘Graduate Profile’.  We are proud of our graduates and stay in touch with them on a continual basis.  They have always kept us updated on what new work they are doing and on many occasions have come back to see us, sharing their skills and experiences with current students.  Each week, we will be featuring one of the graduates with a biography and images of the work they’ve been doing since leaving Textile Fibre Art.

For our first showcase, we are profiling one of our highly successful graduates, Lisa Hawthorne. Lisa is currently based in Philadelphia and has a vast portfolio already, having worked in film, television, theatre, illustration and fashion (including designing shoes in Transylvania!), before completing a Masters Degree in Textile Design at the University of Arts in London.  Currently Lisa works with Free People.

In her work, embellishment, surface texture and pattern are key elements.  Her fabrics often have an ethereal quality and are embellished with hidden beads and sequins, buried beneath the surface.  Her response to today’s throwaway society is evident through her creation of textiles which are ‘difficult to throw away’….they celebrate disintegration and the process of allowing something to naturally erode and become more beautiful.

One of the influences in Lisa’s work, is her Irish heritage and this is apparent in the yarns and source materials she integrates into her fabrics, along with vintage remnants.  Traditional Irish craft techniques are married with digital technologies to create innovative and visually interesting results.  Strong pattern and vibrant colour dominate Lisa’s printed textile work which is varied and rich in design.

In addition to Lisa’s work being featured through television, theatre and film, she has showcased pieces at the RIAN Show at the Irish Embassy in London and at the Mayamiko Trust’s Spark Event to support ethical fashion in Malawai.

To see more of Lisa’s work, visit her website ‘The Big Fat Peacock’ at

More news next week!

For information about the course, browse this site or go to

To apply for the Higher National Diploma In Textile Fibre Art go to

Course Co-Ordinator: Orla Daly

A Busy Couple Of Weeks!!!

Showcase Ireland

Showcase Ireland

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for the Textile Fibre Art course.  Firstly, our students enjoyed a very inspiring and informative trip to Showcase Ireland at the R.D.S., which linked with their ‘Professional Practice’ and ‘Textile Fibre Art In A Professional Context’ modules.  At the show, designers and makers were very forthcoming with advice and information concerning various aspects of their work.  This was an invaluable experience for our students who gained a lot of insight into the creation and marketing of handmade pieces…..something which is incredibly relevant to their own practice.


2nd Years at Showcase Ireland


2nd Year Fiona Lyons at Showcase Ireland

It came to our attention during the week, that one of our graduates, designer Jill De Burca, has recently set up her own label.  During an interview with Totally Dublin Magazine, Jill kindly gave us a nod while speaking about the education and experience which eventually led to her to developing her own collection, which is available now in the Design Centre at Powerscourt Townhouse.  She has also been featured in the Irish Independent. Her eye for colour, pattern, detail and embellishment has led to beautiful results and exciting pieces which are really striking.  We wish her every success with her work….

Wednesday 28th January saw a steady stream of visitors to Studio 2, the Fibre Art room at Ballyfermot College Art Dept., to see work by our 1st and 2nd years including ‘The Apron Project’ (featuring the John Cleese Apron!), wearable artworks, three dimensional textile forms, ceramics, silk scarves, life drawing and visual studies.  Sketchbooks and technical files full of samples were also on display.  Meanwhile, students were participating in design work and tapestry techniques and were available for any queries from visitors.  Tutors, Orla and Louise were on hand to deal with further questions and we all enjoyed meeting everyone on the night!  For anyone who has any questions regarding the course or its details, applications etc….please email: (FAO: Orla Daly, Course Co-Ordinator).  See some of the work from Open Day below:

We rounded the week off on a fantastic note.  Renowned designer, Liz Nilsson came to the college as a guest lecturer to meet our 1st and 2nd years.  They were treated to a workshop (as well as some very relaxing music while they worked!) which explored, through drawing and textile printing techniques, the idea of repetition.  This yielded exciting and innovative results and allowed the students to avail of the guidance of an established and experienced artist/designer, who works independently as well as part of a studio (PRINTBLOCK).  Liz then kindly gave a lecture about her vast experience in various disciplines of Fine Art, Design & Craft and showed images of her extensive portfolio. The feedback from the students at the end of the day was amazing and each of them found the workshop highly beneficial and enjoyable.


Textile Fibre Art Course,

FAO:  Orla Daly (Course Co-Ordinator),

Ballyfermot College of Further Education,    01-6269421

Our New Website & Blog!!

Welcome to our new website & blog where we’ll keep you up to date with all of the news from the course and our current students, as well as news regarding our graduates.  We will be posting regularly with photos and activities from workshops and classes and information about upcoming events.  If you are already on the Facebook page, you will automatically receive our blogs as they happen, but spread the word about both our page and our website.

Our next event is Open Evening which happens on 28th January from 4pm-7pm.  We are delighted to have the work of recent graduate Laura Jordan featured on the poster (top right hand corner)

Open Day 2Stay Tuned!!!