The reason I love painting on silk is that it produces the most vibrant colours. I've painted a lot of peacocks as you can let loose with some of the most amazing colour blends of blues and greens. For cushion designs I mostly like to paint quite primitive shapes and then use effects such as salt bleeds to produce interesting colour effects. It's really great to give someone something you painted to reflect an aspect of their personality or personal history. For kids' presents I like to stretch the silk over a canvas block so you get a wrap-around effect.
I spent three days making a green wood chair in Skibbereen, West Cork under the tutelage of Alison Ospina. Our raw materials were freshly cut hazel branches and we picked out suitable branches to give our chair the right dimensions but also the character we wanted to bring to the piece. What was really nice was to leave the bark on some major elements, including any wrapped vines and lichens that may have been growing there. Other pieces we hand-stripped to give a lovely smooth but natural wood feel. It was a surprisingly pleasurable experience to work with fresh wood but equally pleasurable to finish and sit in my chair once all the hard work was over.
In 2007 I spent an amazing three months travelling in South America - here's my blog from the trip.