Following a number of years working in child-care, archaeology and making and selling hats, Joan Casey, a native of Waterford City, changed tack when introduced to the craft of felt-making during a year spent living in a tipi on the side of a mountain in West Cork. She has now been hand-making felt for the more than 20 years.
After moving to Cork City in 2001, she developed a practice in mosaic-making. This led to commission-based work and work as a tutor with the Education and Training Board (ETB), teaching adult evening classes.
With her partner, Len Canton, a leather craftsman, Joan has run leathercraft workshops in the Greencrafts Village (see www.greencrafts.ie) at Electric Picnic and All Together Now festivals since 2015 and at children’s play camps and summer schemes for more than 15 years.
She is a tutor at the Centre for Environmental Living and Training (CELT), based in Cos. Clare and Galway (see www.celtnet.org) and since 2006, has taught both felt-making and mosaic-making at CELT’s Weekend in the Woods and Weekend in the Hills events.
In 2014, Joan was part of the Lismore Craft Collective, a group of 5 craftspeople making and selling their work in a pop-up shop on Main St., Lismore, Co. Waterford. This short-lived, but interesting enterprise, effectively became a trial run for the latest craft project Joan has become involved in, namely Market House Craftworks in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford.
For Joan, the making and teaching of craftwork is what ties together her interests in archaeology, art, child development, alternative lifestyles and low-impact, sustainable living.