Events and Exhibitions

Talk: Limerick Prisoner Quilts with Paula Rafferty

From: £15.00

Fri, 19 May 2023


Talk: Limerick Prisoner Quilts with Paula Rafferty

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Paula is Quilt Teacher with the life prisoners at Limerick Prison.

These quilts are exquisite, thoughtful and surprising, showing off the talent and dedication to quilting of these men.

Your Tutor

Your Tutor

Paula Rafferty

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Paula has been sewing since she was a small child, she was taught by her mum and started making clothes for her Sindy Doll.

Paula was born and grew up in Dundalk, Co. Louth before moving to study Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) from 1987-1991 and after running her own business for a few years, specializing in stretch and sequined fabrics, she returned to college to train as an Art teacher  (1995-1996). After finishing college Paula worked with retirement groups, which taught her the value of lifelong learning. By accident Paula started working in Limerick Prison in 1998 and has been teaching there full time since. Paula has exhibited and presented lectures on Prison Art and Textiles many times here in Ireland and also in Mexico, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands, Scotland and Canada. 

Paula joined the Irish Patchwork Society in 2002 and has since made hundreds of quilts, both large and small. When asked Paula says that she makes two types of quilts: Art Quilts for exhibition and Therapy Quilts to keep her sane!

With her Art Quilts works in series, several at the same time, until she feels that she has exhausted the theme. Paula loves any messy techniques such as dyeing, printing, stamping, anything where she can get her hands dirty and revel in that childlike joy of playing with colour. Collage, fabric transfer and printing are other favoured techniques, anything that involves modern technology, what could be more fun than mixing ancient skills like hand embroidery with modern digitally printed images, right? 

Therapy Quilts are usually utilitarian in nature and composed of simple shapes like squares or strips, which are cut in large amounts and randomly sewn together. Paula finds the act of repetitive sewing calms and keeps her sane during wintertime or when going through emotional stress. Traditional patchwork and quilting techniques act as a gateway to our past and are an amazing meditative process and Paula adores the challenge of designing quilt blocks and patterns for students and groups. 

Paula exhibits her art quilts and teaches patchwork and quilted techniques internationally, both as a member of various international groups and as a solo artist. Paula’s work has been featured in many international patchwork and quilting magazines including; Quilting Arts, Quilt Modern, British Patchwork & Quilting and Patchwork Professional.

“Quilting has opened up the world to me, brought so many wonderful people into my life and taught me so much. I look forward to the wonderful techniques and skills that I have yet to learn.”

Groups Paula is a member of:

  • IPS Irish Patchwork Society 
  • Quilters Guild of Ireland
  • Quilters Guild of the British Isles (specialist groups contemporary and modern)   
  • SAQA Studio Art Quilt Associates
  • Voyage (an online textile group
  • 20Perspectives

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