It was a long harsh Winter - but how could we have ever imagined that the beautiful colours of the hills would begin to emerge not only in reality, but in our minds eye.
We were a bunch of new friends who had already spent the Autumn & Winter together weaving with Master Weaver ‘John Heena’ every day and producing accessories and garments with ‘Valerie Taylor’ in the afternoons. I could never have dreamed of a better way to spend time and bond with a bunch of equally enthusiastic weaving fanatics, and what an opportunity we had to traditionally hand weave Donegal Tweed.
The days were long but inspiring especially during the snow and frost, and it was a time that brought to reality the harshness of the existence of the local people who had been weavers out of need to survive rather than the love of the craft back in time when life was much more difficult for our people but also a time to feel the warmth of the locals who embraced us into their lives and homes.
We are so fortunate to have the option of luxurious fleece nowadays instead of the harsh wool from native mountain sheep which was the only option back in the day.
Throughout the months we visited weaving mills, yarn producers and the few remaining hand weavers in Donegal.. We often pondered the options but never felt drawn to the power loom – Our combined dream was always to be experienced hand weavers and to keep the heritage craft alive for future generations in Ireland…. I believe we have all begun that journey in the best way possible and will inspire many more to follow in our footsteps and this sustainable way of producing slow textiles will live another day. I thank John Heena, Valerie Taylor and all those who made the dream a reality from the bottom of my heart x