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Nicola Henley

Nicola Henley is a fine artist based in the West of Ireland who specializes in large scale, one-off textile wallhangings and artworks for both exhibition and commission. Her work is inspired by the dramatic seas and changing light of the Atlantic coast and the sense of freedom of birds in flight.

After gaining a First Class B.A Honours degree in Fine Art/Textiles at Goldsmith's college, London in 1984, she continued working as an artist, exhibiting widely in the U.K. Ireland, Australia, Japan, the U.S.A and Spain. She was born in Bristol, England and returned there after her degree to set up a studio, funded by the British Crafts Council. She built her reputation as a Contemporary Textile Artist from the UK before she took the big step of leaving the city life behind when she moved with her young family to Co. Clare in Ireland in 1991.

Her textile pieces are made by a combination of dying, painting with pigments and screen-printing onto cotton calico and then texturing the surface with various materials, using hand and machine stitch.
She starts the piece by dyeing large pieces of calico and transferring drawn and painted images onto silk-screens using a photographic process. The screens and parts of screens are then used to build up layers of images through repeatedly printing and painting the surface of the dyed calico. Sometimes working from both sides of the cloth, subtle textures and colours are built up to create a surface of sequential marks, describing movement and a sense of three-dimensional space. After the printing/painting stage, the fabric is steamed, washed and dried and areas of the surface are selected for dense, textural work. She uses machine and hand stitch to apply fragments of Japanese paper, ‘found’ paper (which I hand print), dyed muslin and sometimes bits of silk.
Large, spacious areas of printed and painted surface contrast with small stitched details, representative of delicate birds in their wild natural environment and the contrast between intricate ornithological detail and the vast expanse of surrounding space.

XL Group, Dublin, Ireland
Cunard Cruise Company (P&O), U.K.
Microsoft Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
British Rail, St Pancras Office, London, England
British Crafts Council, London, England
Embroiderers Guild, London, England
Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Galerie Pousse, Tokyo, Japan
The Rock Shop, Co. Clare, Ireland
1985 - 2016: Private Collections, worldwide

2016 External Exhibitions Fund awarded by Design and Crafts Council of Ireland for exhibition at Timeless Textiles.
2015 RDS National Crafts Awards:
Winner Established Embellished Textiles category.
The William Smith O'Brien Perpetual Challenge Cup.
2013 Touring and Dissemination Grant. The Arts Council of Ireland
1998 Department of Cultural Affairs, Ireland. ‘Travel Award’ to Japan
1997 Arts Council of Ireland. ‘Travel Award’ to Madrid, Spain
1994 Leader Grant. ‘Setting Up Grant’, Ireland
1990 British Council. ‘Travel Award’ to lecture in Japan
1988 South West Arts. ‘Project Award’, England
1986 British Crafts Council. ‘Setting Up’ & ‘Maintenance’ grants, England

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Australia
1986-1990 UK
1991-2010 Ireland
1998, 1992 Japan

Inspired to Stitch: 21 Textile Artists by Diana Springall
A&C Black Publishers Ltd 2005. ISBN no: 07136 6986 1
Art Textiles of the World by Matthew Koumis
Telos Art Publishing 1996 ISBN no: 952626 2 1
Embroidered Pictures by Dorothy Tucker
A&C Black Publishers Ltd 1994 ISBN no: 0 7136 3737 4
Fibrearts Magazine USA Vol. 30 no.2 Sept/Oct 2003
Crafts Magazine UK 1984 and 1987

Recent Exhibitions:

Lasting Impressions. Group exhibition. Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) and Ruthin Crafts Gallery, Wales
Feb 2017
Spirits of the Sky, Timeless Textiles Gallery, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Halcyon Days. Group exhibition. Glor, Ennis. Ireland
Sept 2016
Croí - Group Exhibition, www.croiarts.com. The Origin Gallery, Dublin. Ireland.
RDS National Crafts Awards, The William Smith O'Brien Perpetual Challenge Cup. Winner in category Established Embellished Textiles.
Feb 2015
Shorelines, Timeless Textiles Gallery, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
June 2014
Elemental Dialogue, Enistymon Courthouse Gallery, Clare, Ireland
Feb 2013
Timeless Textiles Gallery, solo show. Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Nov 2012
Knit & Stitch Show. Crafts Council. RDS, Dubli
Jan 2012
Timeless Textiles Gallery, group show. Newcastle, NSW, Australia
'Seascapes' Crafts Council Touring Exhibition, Ireland
Nov 2011
Crafts Council, Knit & Stitch Show. RDS, Dublin
July 2011
Year of Crafts Exhibition. Group show. Glor, Ennis.
Aug 2008
Solo Exhibition. Grennan Mill, Kilkenny Arts Festival.
Oct 2007
SOFA, Crafts Council of Ireland. Chicago, USA
Sept 2006
Hibernia, solo show, Florida USA
Sept 2004
Glor, two person show. Ennis. Co. Clare
Sept 2003
Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
April 2003
Kenny Gallery, Two person show. Galway
May 2002
Guinness Gallery, Dublin. Ireland
Sept 2002
Mrua Gallery, Co. Clare, Ireland. Solo exhibition

Public Collections:

Cunard Cruiseline
British Crafts Council
Embroiderer's Guild
British Rail
Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Galerie Pousse, Tokyo, Japan
Microsoft Ireland, Dublin. Ireland

Previous Exhibitions:

Apr 2000
Contemporary Applied Arts, London, England
Apr 2000
Guinness Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. Two person exhibition
Apr 1999
Primavera, Cambridge, England. Solo exhibition
Dec 1998
Hibernia, Florida, USA
May 1998
Galerie Pousse, Tokyo, Japan. Solo exhibition
July 1997
Barcelona, H-I-P-O-TESI, Spain. Solo exhibition
May 1997
Guinness Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
May 1996
Oxford Gallery, Oxford, England
Mar 1996
Craftworks, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nov 1995
Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Aug 1995
'Ireland on the Inside', Craftworks, Belfast, N. Ireland
July 1995
Summer Show, Contemporary Applied Arts, London, England
June 1995
Textile Show, Newbury Arts Workshop, Oxford, England
Dec 1994
Christmas Show, Contemporary Applied Arts, London, England
Dec 1994
Christmas Show, H.Q. Gallery, Craft Council of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Oct 1994
Crafts Council Shop at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England
Aug 1994
Contemporary Applied Arts, Summer Show, London, England
Aug 1994
The Fibre Show, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland
July 1994
Textiles Exhibition, Bury St.Edmunds Museum, England
Mar 1993
'Visions of Craft', Crafts Council of Ireland, Ireland
Mar 1993
Royal Festival Hall, Craft Gallery and Shop, London, England
Nov 1992
Galerie Pousse, Tokyo, Japan. Solo exhibition
Sept 1992
'Out of the Frame', Crafts Council Gallery, London
Feb 1992
Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool, Cologne/Liverpool Exchange
Nov 1991
'Natural Resources' Irish Crafts Council H.Q.Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Oct 1991
'The Decorative Beast' British Crafts Council gallery, London, England
Apr 1991
Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh. Scotland
Spring 1991
Christies Showrooms, London, England. Annual Crafts Auction
Oct 1990
Oxford Gallery, Oxford. England. Solo exhibition
July 1990
Galerie Pousse, Tokyo, Japan. Solo exhibition
Oct 1989
Cirencester Workshops, Cirencester, England. Solo exhibition
Sept 1989
Plymouth Arts centre, Plymouth, England
July 1989
Scottish Gallery Edinburgh, Scotland
June 1989
Contemporary Applied Arts, London, England. Solo exhibition
Mar 1989
Bristol old Vic, Coopers Gallery, Bristol, England. Solo exhibition
Nov 1988
Bluecoat display Centre, Liverpool, England
Oct 1988
'Contemporary British Crafts' National museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Jan 1988
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Apr 1987
'Wall to Wall' Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, England
Oct 1986
'Stitched Textiles for Interiors' Royal Institute for British Architects, London
Sept 1986
Holthaus Gallery, New York, USA
Mar 1986
Courcoux and Courcoux Gallery, Salisbury, England. Two Person Show.
Aug 1985
'Wall-hung Textiles' British Crafts Centre, London, England
Feb 1985
'Material evidence' Camden Arts Centre, London, England
July 1984
Christies Inaugural, Christies Showrooms, London, England



01.'Burren Coastline'
95cm x 79cm
1,475 euro (unframed, ready to hung)



02.'Herons Errisbeg'
106cm x 91cm
1,550 euro (unframed, ready to hung)


03.'Curlew, Atlantic Storm'
120cm x 82cm
1,550 euro (unframed, ready to hung)


04.'Connemara Autumn'
106cm x 80cm
1,550 euro (unframed, ready to hung)


05.'Circle of Life'
100cm x 100cm
1,950 euro (unframed, ready to hung)

06.'Gulls, Surfers Dawn'
95cm x 188cm
2,450 euro (unframed, ready to hung)


07.'Gulls Golden Surge'
92cm x 80cm
1,475 euro (unframed. ready to hung)