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Brief History

Sewing has been a part of my life since I was a small child, I was taught by my mum and started making clothes for my Sindy Doll and as I got older, clothes from myself


I studied Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) from 1987-1991 and after running my own business for a few years, "Reaction Fashions", specializing in stretch and sequined fabrics, I returned to college to train as an Art teacher  (1995-1996). After finishing college I worked with retirement groups, which taught me the value of lifelong learning. By accident I started working in Limerick Prison in 1998 and have been teaching there full time since. I have exhibited my student’s work many times here in Ireland and also in Mexico. 

In 2002 I joined the Irish Patchwork Society and have since made a lot of quilts, both large and small. When asked I usually say that I make two types of quilts: Art Quilts for exhibition and Therapy Quilts to keep me sane!

With my Art Quilts I work in series, several at the same time, until I feel I have exhausted the theme. I love any messy techniques such as dyeing, printing, stamping, anything where I can get my hands dirty and revel in that childlike joy of playing with colour. Collage, fabric transfer and printing are other obsessions of mine, anything that involves modern technology, what could be more fun than mixing ancient skills like hand embroidery with modern digitally printed images, right? 


My 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. I find the act of repetitive sewing calms and keeps me 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 I adore the challenge of designing quilt blocks and patterns for students and groups. 


I exhibit my work and teach patchwork and quilted techniques internationally


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 and the places and people I've yet to visit and meet.

Groups I'm a member of


Paula Rafferty

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