Nicola Gates weaves contemporary cloth, on a traditional floor loom, powered entirely by hand and foot. Using yarns spun by mills in Ireland and the UK. Inspired by the tradition of weaving in the rural west, many pieces incorporate authentic Donegal yarn, produced in Kilcar, with its distinctive fleck and homespun texture.
Nicola graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, with a degree in Textile Design in 2005. There, she specialised in woven textiles, having been intrigued from the first time she sat at a loom. She has since worked in the heritage and museum sector alongside developing her skills in weaving and felt making.
Nicola founded Olla Nua in 2015, a project that allows her to to combine her passion for sustainable contemporary design with the heritage of Irish weaving. The fabrics are handwoven in small batches by Nicola using her Swedish floor loom, which is powered entirely by hand and foot. All of the yarns used are sourced from mills in Ireland and the UK.
Her pieces tell a story of provenance: inspired by the tradition of weaving in the rural west, many of them incorporate authentic Donegal yarn, produced in Kilcar, with its distinctive fleck and homespun texture. After the meticulous setting up of the loom and weaving, the cloth is washed and often lightly felted to produce the desired softness and texture. Cutting and stitching follow, sometimes combining the handwoven cloth with Irish linen.
Some of Nicola’s designs such as her wraps were inspired by the subtle etchings on ancient gold lunulae from Bronze Age Ireland, as displayed in the Ulster Museum and National Museum of Ireland. These beautiful adornments are embellished with simple geometric combinations of triangles, diamonds and lines. Made with great attention to detail at every stage, her pieces are luxurious and timeless
22-30 Hopefield Ave, Belfast BT15 5AP
You can buy my work from my own online store or from Craft NI Gallery in Belfast and the Irish Design Shop in Dublin.