Why did you decide to pursue a career in art?

After attending Crawford School of Art, I began teaching in a school. While I was there, I done a lot of textiles with kids and absolutely loved it.

However, at the back of my mind, I always had a passion to be able to work for myself.

I had a real love of fibres, textures, experimentation and the freedom that came with an artistic career, as it kind of flowed organically from within me.

The short answer is that I just needed art to be a part of my life!

How would you describe your creative process?

I’m really interested in nature, biodiversity and climate change, so I usually pick an animal that I want to learn more about and then study it.

I look into things such as its characteristics, habitat and how it interacts with Irish biodiversity.

I then capture it in different ways through pictures, videos and connecting with wildlife experts who study it. That then leads me to a series of pieces centred around that animal.

Artwork created by Molly Ellis

Let’s say I was doing I was doing puffins for example - I would end up doing five or six different pieces, working with them at the same time.

I draw them and stitch them so the pieces then feed into each other.

I find that I learn more about their movements and how to portray that as a group as opposed to doing single pieces.

How nature changes also influences my work and what I am drawn to. It really is centred around a love of biodiversity, a love of animals and, most importantly, a love of connection for both of those things.

How I portray this in my artwork then is very important to people who have an affinity with a certain animal feel that connection.

How do you find inspiration?

I love to live a circular life and that led me to rewild my own garden, which allowed me to become fascinated with moths and butterflies.

A robin card designed by Molly Ellis

I can also gain inspiration from simply taking a walk around where I live. There are lots of fox’s dens around here and when their cubs come out, I become obsessed with creating a fox series.

In the late summer evenings, moths run around chasing them so I then naturally become interested in anything to do with wind or movement.

So there really is this lovely circular flow of what inspires me. I gain knowledge, pull it into my life and that then feeds my inspiration again.

What has been your most memorable piece to create?

A few years back, I became busy with life and didn’t have the time to make many original pieces. However, when we opened our art shop in Fermoy, this really allowed me to start making again, as I had more time.

A Bumble Bee design by Molly Ellis

It took me some to find my feet creating again, but, when I started to work with black felt, everything changed.

One piece which stood out to me in particular was a piece I done of a fox on black felt. This really changed things up for me and allowed me to challenge myself to stop making things that were soft and sweet and to experiment with more bold colours.

It also pushed out my creative process into trying new things and finding my technique. I have just finished a hare on black felt, which is probably my favourite piece at the moment.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing an artistic career?

Firstly, I would say don’t be frightened to join artist co-ops. Artists will usually share their own knowledge with you, as there is no point in keeping the information captive.

You would be surprised at how many local artists groups would welcome you in to teach you new skills and confidence.

There are also a lot of artist meet and greets around the country, which can be a nice way to talk to other like-minded people.

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