Irish Linen

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of our Irish readers! Ireland has a wonderfully rich textiles heritage, which we have often covered in Selvedge. Today we are featuring Irish designer Katie Larmour, who designs beautiful home furnishings using Irish linen.

What led you to start your design company?

I thought Irish linen was being under-celebrated. It’s such a wonderful textile with lots of gorgeous qualities and a rich cultural heritage. There has been an emergence of small artisan brands popping up all over the province in the last few years, from gin to coffee to woodwork, and it’s lovely to be a part of that. It’s continuously growing and evolving - with my vintage silk scarf cushion line I’ve blended my backgrounds of both craft and the antiques world, and from this, I developed a collection of sculpted and patchwork cushions from Irish linen alone.

What have you been working on recently?

This month I am launching a third strand to my brand, a range of delicately beaded and embroidered Irish linen decorations. An element of sustainability has always run through my work, so for these little trinkets, I am using all the off-cut material gathered from my cushion and quilt making as well as deadstock fabric from the mills, trying to incorporate already existing materials and less wastage. I wanted to create a product that would appeal to both tourists as well as locals, and not limited to just the Christmas season, so I have designed shapes representing seashells, ice-cream cones, butterflies and even a seahorse, an emblem of Belfast.

What do you like best about living in Belfast?

It’s a very unique city, I would have to say the friendly, energetic buzz about the place. I split my time between Belfast and London and I always know when I’m home because people say ‘thank-you’ to the bus drivers when they step off one after another, it’s just a lovely way of life.

Do you have any plans to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Of course, there’s always a pint of the black stuff involved, but another nice thing to do is take a ferry across Strangford Lough and make your way to the town of Downpatrick and wander around the grounds of Down Cathedral where the saint’s grave lies. Saint Patrick was reputedly buried there because he set up his first church at nearby Saul where he preached and did his missionary work. I’ve taken inspiration from this medieval history in my work with the use of traditional Celtic motifs and decorative designs on my hanging ornaments, for example, the Trinity knot, triple spirals, interlace, and circular bosses originating from ancient manuscript painting, stone carvings, monuments and metal work. It’s my personal way of celebrating these roots. 

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  • Jenny kahan on

    Thank you for this feature.
    Extremely interesting and informative about Katie’s work with linen, which is my favourite textile. I spin and weave – also, I hand sew with linen.
    Thank you too for some information about Downpatrick. It is now on my list of places I must visit in Ireland.

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