The Circling - Kaarrella Collection

This collaboration came about when a group of Irish designers met a group of Finnish designers during a Craftlink programme. After seeing each others work, we decided that we would love to work together creatively.
I was paired with Johanna Rieplua, a designer who works with rushes and leather.
Swans are part of both Irish and Finnish heritage. They are featured strongly in Irish and Finnish mythology. The legends of The Children of Lir and the Swan of Tuonela. The swan is a symbol of strength, grace and beauty and this became the inspiration for this project.
Circling purse, collaboration between Claire Guinan and Johanne Riepula
As the project developed, we decided to make a bag, a purse/ necklace and a brooch.
The Circling - Kaarrella Collection Claire Guinan & Johanna Riepula
I love making pieces that tell stories and this project was no different. I used silver to make the ornamental pieces for the bag and purse and the brooch. The overlapping circles reflect the movement of the swans over the silver rushes, echoing the circular shape of the purse and paying homage to the woven rush surroundings.
Johanna likes to explore the balance between different materials and techniques and also between ecological living and the materialized modern world. She used rushes that she collected from a local lake combined with vegetable tanned leather that is dyed ecologically by using rusty metal nails and vinegar. Leather and rush are very tactile, both age nicely and are highly responsive to touch. She weaved the rush in a traditional way. Rush and leather create a fitting background for the silver detail.
We decided on the title for the exhibition "Murmuration" when we were over in Finland. The idea of 2 groups coming together and making something. 
I designed the invites for the exhibition. I painted a vast sky over a rugged landscape in oils and used this as the image for the invite card. I drew birds that were printed on tracing paper. For the sleeve, I designed a piece of tracing paper with birds printed at each end. This was wrapped around the invite card with the flock of birds on both sides overlapping. The birds were in two separate flocks when open and formed a murmuration when closed.
Murmuration Invite designed by Claire Guinan
 We decided that we would like an installation of origami birds. We made the birds using a mixture of paper with some of the emails sent between us and plain paper. I was given the job to hang this installation.
Birds Installation Photo
16 designers took part in this exhibition, a total of 8 collaborations. 
Our Murmuration exhibition took place in Esker Arts Centre in Tullamore, Co.Offaly on the 12th January and ran until the 2nd of March.
You can browse the Exhibition Here: