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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Anna McGurn and Patricia Kelly studied Art and Design at A Level together, in Enniskillen forty years ago, they were very good friends for many years, recently their artistic endeavours have brought them back together again.

‘We left school, Patricia went on to study art, I did psychiatric nursing but we kept in contact, but life takes over, as it always does, and we followed our own paths, slowly losing contact. Decades later here we have reconnected and I think we have a wee pottery show to thank for that, 40 years since we have left school, 40 years and we still have dreams and ambitions, 40 years we get to realise them.’

The ‘wee pottery show’ is ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’ and Anna was one of three finalists this year.  The profile and attention from the very popular show has brought Anna many ‘followers’ and she has continued working away in clay, relishing the opportunities to create commissions and exhibit her work far and wide.       

Patricia attended the art college at Ulster University in Belfast where she obtained a B.A. Honours degree in Fine Craft Design, specialising in embroidered textiles.

Using free motion embroidery techniques to create her works, which in recent times have become more abstract, there is a strong focus on the use of the stitched line.

Inspiration and influence comes from many sources including the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, to see beauty in the imperfect; as well as the rugged landscape and skies in the west of Ireland, where lines created by tangled hedgerows are silhouetted against coloured skies. 

The sense of belonging to a place, where family history is interwoven through present lives greatly influences Patricia too.  Incorporating recycled old textiles, often used by ancestors in quilt making, conveys something of the multi layered nature of lives linked, stitched together – changing but staying the same, shifting, breathing, living.