Paula Marten Artist Statement

I like to imagine that I blew into Baltimore carried from the East Coast of Scotland by some Northern wind. West Cork has cast a spell on me. The geography, the fraying landscape tailing off into the Atlantic, surrounded by a scattering of islands, which constantly brave the elements, have informed and formed my life and career for over twenty years.

As a knitted textile designer I immersed myself in the rough and rugged landscape. I created fabrics which had a worn and weathered quality. The colours and textures softly echoed the land and sea gently flowing and seeping in and out throughout the work. The collections were designed with an aura of West Cork and to be worn outside in the elements.

"Paula Marten makes knitwear that will take your breath away". Anita Whooley Irish Examiner 2001.

However over time I found the Industry restrictive. I needed to experiment and explore new materials, forms and ways of working.

In 2005 I studied teacher training at the Crawford College of Art and Design. I discovered that designers are trained as artists. I draw, paint and more importantly know how to manipulate materials and develop ideas. I had not thought of myself as an artist before it was a revelation.

The West Cork landscape and life style is what I live and breathe for. Working as an Art teacher and living here is such a privilege, I try not to take it for granted. It keeps delivering me with a new perspective and direction in which to work.

Taking time out in 2014 and swimming has been monumental to my work and to me as a person. You have to exert and push yourself to see this extraordinary world. I swim all year, in all kinds of weather conditions. I am in my element, swimming in Lough Hyne and surrounding waters.

Open water swimming allows me to be in the landscape and capture this experience through photography. The photographs are an inspiration for my work, through mixing a variety of medias.

I had an exhibition in the summer of 2016 which showcased my first body of work based on my swimming experiences. I am continuing to develop this work , again through my Sea Spell Swimming Blog . As part of my Blog I have a  "Turning the Plastic Tide Tips". I decided to try and reduce my plastic consumption in 2018, as being more connected to nature, I am seeing the damage we are all causing to our environment. See New Work and Swimming Photos and Sea Spell Swimming Blog.

Another inspiration for my work is Heggarty's Boat Yard in Old Court. I have followed the restoration of the A.K Ilen for a number of years and more recently , I have followed the building of Saoirse, another Baltimore built wooden boat. An exhibition of my work was in The Yellow Door Gallery in Baltimore in 2023. Paintings and prints are still available.

Paula Marten (1970)

2006 H Dip Crawford College of Art and Design Cork

1994 BA Hons Industrial Design ( Textiles) Scottish College of Textiles Galashiels( Herriot Watt University)

1990 Diploma in Art and Design Telford College Edinburgh