Meet the Artist
Textile artist Jen Keavey lives on an organic farm on the west coast of Ireland with her husband and three children. In between being a mum, she works full time at her art, creating pieces which show her passion for, and connection with, the natural world.
She uses small pieces of scrap fabric, often donated by others and repurposed for her art, to create a fabric collage, before stitching into it using her sewing machine, and needle and thread. She employs a technique called ‘free motion stitching’ where the machine is set up in such a way that it allows her to draw pictures with it by moving the fabric around. Her subjects range from landscapes to wild animal portraits to botanical art, and all aim to draw the viewer in and inspire in them the same sense of connection to nature, and wonder and awe she feels as she creates them.
Growing up Jen was surrounded by creativity… her Dad was passionate about music and her Mum always had a needle and thread in hand, creating all sorts of things. ‘My mum made my clothes, did cross stitch, smocking, embroidery, and most of all, made hand pieced quilts. She, in turn, learned from her mother, who was a gifted seamstress. My Dad’s mother was a talented artist, and I like to think that in me, all these talents have come together as a unique inherited gift’.
She enjoyed art at school, but only ever saw it as a hobby, and went on to become a primary school teacher (so she could still have access to the art cupboard!!). Over the years she has inspired many children to explore their creativity and have confidence with art. In recent years she has run very successful children’s art clubs and workshops, always with an emphasis on the children finding and expressing their unique voice through their art.
She met her husband while at University in Cambridge, and eventually they moved to his home farm in Ireland, where they started up the very successful Green Earth Organics, fruit and veg home delivery service. They also built a house, had three children, and acquired a large menagerie of animals. Life was busy, even when Jen gave up teaching to become a stay at home Mum. And always, she was creating… knitting, crochet, sewing, her hands were never idle. She made cards and presents for friends and family, and looked at things other artists had made and thought… ‘I could do that’.
Before she knew it, her youngest child was at school full time, and for the first time in thirteen years, she had spare time. In January 2020 she went to a conference called ‘Momentum’ which was all about making goals and realising them. Not really knowing what to write she put down ‘make a living from making art’. And so it began. Since then she has honed and refined her techniques and developed her art, focussing more and more on birds and animals. In all her work she follows her heart and creates art she truely loves.
She is passionate about the natural world and it felt right that that should be a starting point for her art. ‘I make art to bring myself and the viewer closer to nature, to open our eyes to it’s beauty and splendour, and by doing so, give us a sense of connection and joy, wonder and awe.’ That connection to nature is a golden thread running through all her work. For source materials she uses her own photographs and sketches, and also collaborates with wildlife photographers. Each piece she creates is handmade and unique, while maintaining her particular style and artistic voice.