When did you start your business and why?
Growing up, I always had an artistic eye and then decided to start my artistic career professionally in 2014.
My background is actually in photography and millinery, but I had a passion for working with fibres and capturing idyllic landscapes.
When I was in university, I studied journalism and media, so naturally I love using words to accompany my pieces such as poems alongside my work.
Can you explain your creative process?
Well, firstly, I love the tactile nature of wool and it kind of brings me back to being a child playing in fields.
Recently, I’ve been exploring dyeing my own wool with onion skins, plants, moss and dawkins.
I mostly do wet felting - it’s my passion, as I feel it’s really organic and you are never quite sure how the wools and felt will work together.
It’s never rigid and will evolve the way it wants to. I have also gone to Holland and learned from many different artists over there.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
Doing something I love and being able to do something very authentic to me brings me a lot of joy. Apart from that, on a business level I have developed my pieces so I can now make my work go a bit further.
I do limited edition prints, so I can make other products from my prints such as lamps and cushions. It makes it more of a sustainable business model so I can do the really nice, more-indulgent work.
It took a while for me to realise that I had a legitimate business that I could expand and take in the direction I wanted it to.
How do you become inspired and what has been your biggest achievement so far?ADVERTISEMENT
I live in the northeast, so the landscape here is absolutely beautiful. Going outside and taking a walk is something I always do to gain artistic inspiration.
My style of work is kind of quirky, but relatable and always has a story to it.
For my biggest achievement, I got to go to ‘Straight out of Ireland’ in 2024 to exhibit my pieces in Philadelphia. This was a really nice way of developing my business and the experience definitely gave me a confidence boost to go a bit further.
Last year, I had my first solo exhibition in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh. This was an amalgamation of my own poetry, wool pieces in response to the poem and landscape photography.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing an artistic career?
For advice, there is so much help available in mentorship from your local LEOs that may direct you in the way you need to go.ADVERTISEMENT
Also, don’t be afraid of experimenting with different mediums. I began making prints too, as well as my felted pieces.
However, it is also important to stay true to your authentic style. Don’t just make what you think people will want because you have to really believe in what you are doing.
Caóilfíonn's work can be found at cushlaofgullion.com.