Mountmellick Moments

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I have been inspired by the ‘Keep Well’ campaign which is part of the Government’s plan for living with COVID-19 to promote individual and community resilience. DCCI is partnering with Sláintecare and Healthy Ireland to deliver this nationwide programme through libraries. I have been captivated by Mountmellick Work since my first visit to the Mountmellick Embroidery Museum in 2017. As I have been spending a lot of time observing the natural world during lockdown I was drawn back to the beauty of this craft. These traditional motifs are embedded in the hedgerows and countryside in that area of County Laois. I decided to punctuate my day with ‘Mindful Mountmellick Moments’ and switch off, be creative and learn something new. I have revised stitches, learned new ones as I consider a bigger project in this medium. Mountmellick embroidery is worked on a durable white cotton fabric called jean using white cotton thread. It will last the test of time and so much more sustainable than synthetic fabrics.

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My initial classes in Mountmellick Work were with Kay O’Donovan at the Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland (TLI). Veronica Stuart (TLI) donated Weldon’s Encyclopaedia of Embroidery to HLP Library and I found the section on Mountmellick Work very interesting. HLP was delighted to welcome Dolores Dempsey and Margaret Gorman from Mountmellick to Headford in 2018. They held a day long workshop which proved to be very popular.

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Regrettably, Headford Lace Project had to cancel a planned visit to Mountmellick Embroidery Museum in 2019 due to the pandemic. This collaboration is supported by DCCI Network Support Grant. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to rescheduling this visit.

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