In Trim, Co Meath, one tutor is bringing the concept of ‘hygge’ to adult education in Boyne Community School. Hygge is a Danish concept encompassing a feeling of cosy contentment and wellbeing generated through enjoying the simple things in life.
Christina Donoghue, who lived in Denmark for a time and is married to a Dane, brings hygge to people’s lives through her patchwork and quilting class. Not only did she learn her patchwork skills in Denmark but also her sense of organisation and preparation about classes. “I lived in Denmark for 15 years and adult education was a big thing there, and was facilitated by the trade unions. This was around acknowledging that people were busy during the day and wanted to do something different in the evenings. People in Denmark would be proud to say they were going to evening college.”
Christina learned her patchwork in Denmark, so she had a clear template for adult education in her mind on her return to Dublin. “I felt that people wanted to do something creative at night, something different to their day jobs. Now, we have about 12 in the classes and regulars who keep coming back to us.
“People get hooked on the patchwork – and they get on well together, seeing how each other is progressing with their project.”
That engagement is also carried through by Christina who helps Adult Education Director Máire Walsh to promote the class! “I send out reminders – texts and emails – about the class myself. I’ve created our own community and it helps to promote the class which is a help.”
It also helps that Christina is passionate about patchwork. “I place a huge value on it – people are creating heirlooms. Patchwork and quilting – these are crafts that we have to look after. A craft is a living thing, you are always building on it.”
The group produces small bed quilts, cushions, wall hangings, small baby quilts, table runners and more. “You have to get to know fabrics and how they go together. And you learn how colours match together, about big prints and small prints. And people also get a lot of ideas from Pinterest, so that keeps them interested as well.”
Christina is learning as well – “though I teach mainly traditional patchwork – in blocks – we always try more creative things as well. I get a buzz from coming up with new ideas each term. So, I benefit hugely from it as is pushes me as well.”
You'll also find Patchwork classes at Coolmine Community School (Dublin 15) and St Colmcille's Community School, Knocklyon (Dublin 16). We also recently published a feature on Deirdre Carroll, the Patchwork Quilting tutor at St Comlcille's.