Welcome to Wild Wool Way
A Certified Oxford Punch Needle Instructor.
Welcome to my Punch Needle World!! My name is Michelle O Driscoll and I am passionate about punch needle. I am a trained Environmental Scientist for the past 20 years and still currently work in the environmental field. I discovered punch needle 7 years ago while on a crafting trip to the UK, little did I know I stumbled upon something that would change my life. It is my love for nature, our environment and the animals on my family farm that provides me with the inspiration for my punch needle fibre art.
I was so passionate about the joy and fun that punch needle brought me, I left everything behind in 2018 and travelled to America to train under Amy Oxford, the inventor and Queen of punch needle to become Ireland’s first Certified Oxford Punch Needle Instructor. I understand the frustration you feel when starting on a new craft with incorrect materials and tools. I spent many hours sourcing, testing, punching, to find all the right materials that you need to get started on your punch needle adventure. That is when Wild Wool Way was born, my shop stocks all you require to get started or continue on with your punch needle adventure, from monks cloth, gripper strip frames, Oxford punch needles and coming soon hand dyed yarn, a true colour feast for the eyes!!
I live on my dairy farm (my cows provide me with lots of inspiration and feature quite heavily in my work!!) with my husband, 4 children, dog and numerous cats!! In the good ole days I organised punch needle retreats and punch needle workshops on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. Come punch with me on the Wild Wool Way!
Having discovered the Oxford Punch Needle while on a trip to Yarndale Festival in Skipton, Yorkshire, a number of years back, I travels to England regularly to complete workshops in rug making to include techniques such as punch needle rug hooking, traditional rug hooking, standing wool and quillie’s etc.
In June 2018 I traveled to Vermont in America to train under Amy Oxford, the inventor of the Oxford Punch Needle to become Ireland’s first and to date only Certified Oxford Punch Needle Rug Hooking Instructor.
I am a registered member of the Oxford Punch Needle Instructors Guild, Design Craft Council of Ireland, TIGHR (The International Guildford of Handhooking Rugmakers) and the Cork Textile Network.
Why choose a Certified Oxford Punch Needle Instructor?
Here is an extract from the Oxford Punch Needle Instructors Guild on why you should choose a Certified Oxford Instructor.
Wherever possible I will try to source local products for my kits or recycled products where possible.
In my work I will continually try to reduce my environmental impact and focus on sustainability. The packaging I use for my kits will be minimal and all parts e.g. cardboard box, tissue paper and thread can be recycled or reused. Where possible I reuse packaging I receive, thereby giving it a further reuse and life!!
This picture is part of a piece that I did during lockdown addressing another global crisis, our climate. Not having the usual access to materials to punch with I challenged myself to find other materials to punch and hook with. I have worked as an Environmental scientist for over 20 years and a lot of that time was working within the waste sector, hence I naturally gravitated towards my bins!! I punched with tissue paper, sleeves from milk cartons, netting from fruit, potato bags, plastic banding, old t-shirts etc and my “CLIMATE SOS, BE THE ONE TO MAKE CHANGE” was born.
Punch Needle Connects and Mindful Practice
Once I started punch needle I knew I had found my thing. I loved working with wool, the smell, the touch, the feel of different textures, the colours that feed my soul and inspire creativity. I love the different textures, styles and colourways that you can create, I loved that it’s like painting with wool.
I found too that there is a lovely worldwide rug making community. During yarn shows, I have spoken with every man, woman and child who stopped by my stand, I demonstrated how to use the Oxford Punch Needle correctly, then let people try it out for themselves. Punch needle is very easy to pick up, but it takes a lifetime to master!! I found that my Oxford Punch Needle connects me to people, and by the fibres going through our hands, people spoke about the fibres of their lives…. births, deaths, marriages, childhood, school days, old traditions, new traditions. Punch needle connects.
Punch needle is mindfulness in practice. When you are punching you are in the moment, you are focusing on the next stitch, thoughts will naturally come and go but your mind will always come back to you work and focus on the next stitch, you will be in the present and in the moment. In this day and age where there is a lot of pressure and stress with work, parenting and generally running around it is nice to take time out for a bit of self care. Make time for you, make time for craft, make time for punching, it will sooth your soul.
Come punch with me on the Wild Wool Way.