27 Oct The Irish Times – October 2018
The Story of Home: Stitching a sense of place
In the fourth in the Ulster Bank series, we meet designer Bernie Murphy, whose ‘Homelands’ collection emerges from the landscape around her.
Home means everything to textile artist Bernie Murphy. Based in Porthaw Glen, Buncrana, in her native Donegal, she skilfully intersperses world-renowned Donegal tweed with her own striking, contemporary style. She radiates pride when it comes to speaking about Donegal and has translated the inflections of her surrounding landscape in the capes, collars, tunics, trouser skirts, hats and scarves she designs.
Her studio is based at her home, which is just minutes’ walk from picturesque Porthaw beach. She takes walks there daily to gain inspiration, to recharge and simply to enjoy the joyful bonus of living by the ocean. In fact, she is so influenced by her homeland that she called her first collection exactly that.
“I called my collection ‘Homelands’ because I thought it was very relevant to who I am, where I am and actually each piece within the collection I have named for the townlands and places that have a meaning to me. ‘Magherabeg’ was a childhood place where I had lots of fun playing with friends when we were growing up. ‘Aileach’ is the Grianán of Aileach [a hillfort in Donegal]. So everything has a name and a sense of place of where I am and where I live, and it’s my home,” says Murphy.