Head and shoulders profile picture of Orla Twomey and Armand Tessier from Farraige

Orla Twomey and Armand Tessier have been pressing seaweed since February 2022 .  It all started as a hobby to make beautiful pieces of art. They set up their craft business Farraige after deciding to share this beauty with everyone else.

They carefully and sustainably forage specimens from the beaches of West Cork before cleaning  and pressing them on watercolour paper at home. After some time, and some tender love and care, the press is removed to  reveal a  beautiful and natural piece of art.

In this episode we chat about the patience required to turn a piece of nature into a piece of art, the wonders of this multifaceted yet underrated element of our coastal landscapes and the importance of passion, giving things a go and the support of friends and family. 

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About this podcast

Date:         09/01/2024

Duration:   39:26 mins

Orla and Armand's Takeaway Tip:

Don’t be afraid to try things.

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[00:00:00] Geraldine: Welcome to the Cork Creative Podcast. With this podcast, we hope to promote local creative businesses and people. I’m your host, Geraldine Hennessey from Flux Learning, and today I am in the fabulous Fernhill House Hotel and Gardens to chat to seaweed artists Orla and Armand from Farraige. After discovering the beauty of pressed seaweed, what began as a hobby in February 2022 has now turned into a successful craft business.

Orla and Armand carefully and sustainably forage lovely specimens from the beaches of West Cork before bringing them home, cleaning them, and then pressing them on watercolour paper. They revel in the impatient excitement with every reveal and the beauty of this most natural end product. In this episode, we chat to Orla and Armand about the patience required for turning a piece of nature into a piece of art, the wonders of this multifaceted yet underrated element of our coastal landscapes, and the importance of passion , giving things a go and the support of family and friends.

You’re very welcome to the Cork Creative Podcast, Orla and Armand.

[00:01:13] Orla: Thank you very much.

Armand: Thank you very much.

Orla: Thanks for inviting us.

[00:01:18] Geraldine: So can you tell us a little about yourselves and how you first became involved in working with seaweed as an artistic medium? It’s a very, I suppose, unique raw material.

[00:01:27] Orla: Well, I suppose like everybody in Covid,  was scrolling mad on the Instagram and you know, the  those posts, sponsored posts, one in particular was seaweed,  art pressings or whatever. And it immediately piqued my interest. And  I just thought it was really unusual and, you know, clicked into it, obviously.

And I thought I could give this a go myself, just as, you know, something to do and possibly as maybe gifts for friends, because I’d started,  sea dipping as well, of course, you know, like everybody else during covid. And  so I, I gave it a go. Like when I started, it was just with,  encyclopaedias, that, that was the way to, to press the seaweed onto the watercolor paper.

And,  the results weren’t too bad. One of the friends in particular that I gave it to, she was like, you know, you really should consider this as a business thing. And at the time it was just like, not, not a hope, just no interest in a business. And  I suppose, what was it, maybe a year or two later I met Armand and I happened to show him some of the pressings.

And he was immediately interested and wanted to know more. So we …I took him to a beach, I suppose it’s considered a date at the time, and  well, I kind of went from there.

[00:03:00] Armand:  She showed me a dulce,  you know,  so everybody knows that everybody sees it on the beach, but once it was in the paper, indeed, immediately I knew there was something special there.  And I said, yeah, let’s do some more of course. And after that. We started picking more species and, and we had the interest also in discovering the seaweed species, on and on step by step. The horizon got a bit wider, you know. 

So in terms of  what do we pick,  etc,  getting to discover just by touching on the beach and looking what we could press or, that would be nice. That would be great etc And then on and on, after we went home, we were discovering the species as well. And we had  more knowledge about what we were picking, how to pick them as well, how to press them. That’s something actually that we discovered mostly by trying. Like Orla said, the first one, we, we put them between cardboard in books and then we got some real presses made out of wood and then, a bit like flower presses.

So that’s, that was the discovery part. And that kind of went from there then.

[00:04:21] Orla: And I suppose, you know, we got encouragement from friends and family and we did a local market in our local village,  last year and that’s where we really thought, okay, this could be something. Yeah. So that’s kind of where everything originated.

[00:04:43] Geraldine: Okay. Okay. Okay.

So you produce both seaweed pressings and seaweed prints. Can you tell us a little about your products?

[00:04:49] Armand:  Yeah, sure. So we, the first thing that we did indeed was pressings, only pressings. We foraged them on the beaches of West Cork. Basically, we go,  to the beach and,  we follow the tide,  to, in order to, to pick up the washed up seaweed.

Okay.  All the seaweed that are washed off on the shore, basically that are not on the rocks,  not growing anymore. Then we take them home. We put them in a press and after. Well, a week or so, sometimes longer, they’re ready. So we press them on watercolor paper.  Basically the goal when we put them in the press, it’s a bit like a flower,  flower pressing.

However, the big difference -that they are really wet when we put them in the press. So we have to dry them evenly, and that’s where the whole difficulty is,  the seaweed has to dry evenly with the paper and we have to take care of that. So regularly we open the press, look at,  look at it. If we need to change the paper, we need to change the paper.

And then prints, the prints came after.

[00:06:09] Orla: We would have our favorites that we, you know, sometimes we’d get a nice surprise actually when we opened the press and we’re like, Oh my God, this is amazing. So,  we, we,  have a lovely guy in Cork who has,  a professional scanner and he would do scans of the, the seaweeds that we like.

And,  we print them then ourselves on hemp paper, which is a sustainable,  paper. Yeah. So we kind of have like a 2022 range and a 2023. Our favorites from 2023. Yeah. And, and we’ve gotten great, great feedback as well. Like people really seem to like our choices

[00:06:48] Geraldine: Can you share some insights into the process of pressing seaweed and turning it into art?

You said there about the difficulties with trying to get it to dry properly. It goes in wet, does it, into the press?

[00:07:00] Armand: Yes, you collect the seaweed  when it’s wet, but outside the water, it tends to stay in a pack,  and you can’t really lay it properly on the paper. So what you do, you put them in an oven tray, a shallow tray with the paper and the seaweed together so that it can have a shallow layer of water.

So enough to have the seaweed move freely, let’s say on the paper, and then you lay it out. That’s the moment when there is a bit of patience required.

[00:07:40] Geraldine: This doesn’t sound like something I could do.

[00:07:43] Orla: You’d be surprised. It can actually be quite therapeutic.

[00:07:46] Armand: It is. The people that we do workshop with, they find it extremely relaxing.

And usually, so we start by making, you know, explanations about the seaweeds and they have plenty of questions. And when they start the process of pressing,  in that oven tray, generally there is a silence that settles.

Geraldine: Sounds very relaxing. Very good.

[00:08:13] Orla:.And I suppose, yeah, the other big thing is the actual drying, like getting it to dry evenly and depending on the seaweed itself, because some seaweeds are thicker obviously than others. You’ve some that are nice and thin that will, will readily stick to the page, but then there’s others that will require a bit longer in the press and getting them to dry evenly can be a bit, a bit of a struggle I suppose sometimes, but,  we’re kind of constantly learning.

Geraldine: Fine tuning the process.

Orla:.Exactly. And I suppose the big thing is actually regularly changing the newspaper that we use to kind of absorb the water.

[00:08:55] Armand: And the process are changing anyway, you know, from time to time we notice that,  there is something available that could fit for this purpose or this purpose.

Like we very recently, actually, we just bought some new paper to make some bigger  pressings in A3 size and this is a whole, you know, learning journey. I suppose.

[00:09:21] Geraldine: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And how long does it take to dry?

[00:09:25] Orla: Again, depending on the seaweed-  some can take a week, two weeks, could take up to two months again, depending if a seaweed is again, that bit thicker comes out a bit warped, you know. We might re-wet it and try and get a flat. It doesn’t always work.

[00:09:43] Armand: It’s a bit of everything, actually. You have also to take into account the size of the seaweed compared to the size of the paper, because if you have a small seaweed for a big paper, generally the seaweed will not have enough strength to warp the paper. If, however, you have  a seaweed that goes almost to the extremities of the paper, there’s a big chance that it might  warp it. Again, as Orla  said, the thickness of the seaweed is something. Some also press because there is the texture of it.

Some are thick, but they actually press quite good, and some are thick, but they are very hard, extremely rigid.

[00:10:28] Geraldine: Is there a particular type of seaweed that works better?

[00:10:32] Orla: I suppose definitely the flatter seaweeds,  for example, I suppose Red Comb is a nice example.  Very kind of fine filigree type leaves.

Okay. Now this, I suppose it takes a while to, to, you know, when it’s in the water to get it all out and the way you want it, but it does press very well. Once it does come out, you know, and very, I suppose, minimal warping,  and it always looks good, you know.

[00:11:00] Geraldine: Okay.

You have to get it when it’s just fresh out of the water, is it so, if it’s, if it’s anyway dried out in the beach, it’s, it’s no good, it’s going to have to be kind of fresh out of the water.

[00:11:09] Armand: You can try to wet it again,  however the result is not guaranteed, it’s going to be…when it’s dried like most of the time it will break anyway,  so….

[00:11:23] Orla: Depends how dry they are I suppose as well.  Because some things you can certainly rehydrate, and they’re not too bad, but then.

[00:11:32] Armand: But we do, we do have our favorites, the red comb weed, yes, like Orla said, is a very good example because we love not only the color of it, but also the shape. It has all this. Very fine hooks all along the branches. That’s really like,  if someone drew it for hours and hours, like if I were to do it myself, I would spend probably days to reproduce the same little…

[00:11:59] Orla: . And people do mistake it. A lot of people are like, Oh, is this a watercolor painting? And I’m like, Nope, it’s real, real pressed seaweed.

[00:12:07] Geraldine: And is there, is there a particular beaches or strands that you tend to favor that produce the better seaweed?

[00:12:14] Orla:  I suppose the big beaches like Inchydoney where you’d love to find something is always very clean and Red Strand,like, you know, the popular beaches where people might be like, Oh yeah, I’d love something from there.

But actually it’s the small coves, smaller coves and smaller beaches where things kind of get washed up and kind of stay there with the tides. So Duneen would be a favorite beach for us, it’s near Dunmore Hotel,  Barry’s Cove,  I’m not too sure if many people know of it, but it’s a gorgeous little cove near, near Ring in Clonakilty.

Garretstown actually is quite good. Yeah. And that’s a big beach, but,  we found lots of nice things there. And I think the furthest we’ve been is kind of past Castletownbere- a beautiful beach called Garnish.

Geraldine: Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. 

Orla:  And we had found some really lovely things there.

[00:13:08] Armand: Oh, yeah, that was fantastic.

Actually, we went there only once, but it was the, the sand was so fine. Like the, the landscape is absolutely gorgeous. We had the best afternoon there because the location was really beautiful. And, and,  and of course the pastime is also beautiful.

[00:13:31] Orla: Foraging- yeah, it’s great. Cause like you’re out, out in nature and the elements,  and,  getting to experience, you know, beautiful beaches.

Yeah, it’s, it’s our happy place, I suppose.

[00:13:46] Geraldine: And what are some unique challenges or considerations when working with seaweed compared to other art materials? It’s a natural product so I’d imagine there are complications with that. You, you mentioned some of them there.

[00:13:57] Armand:  Well first,  for some of the species and depends again, like,  it’s also experience, but you realize that time is of the essence. So when you forage them, you have for some of them 12 hours to press them. Otherwise it will leak on the paper because they’re going to become spongy and they’re going to start to decay very, very quickly. So that’s the first thing. And to know also which ones have a tendency to decay or not.

We have, for instance, again, our red comb weed , the plocamium is very fine, but curiously also extremely resistant to time. So that’s the first thing you have to do everything in preferably the same time.

[00:14:47] Orla: Yeah. Make sure you have the time set aside to do it. Yeah.

[00:14:50] Armand: Basically, when we do one batch, it takes a whole day. Okay. Actually. Because like in the morning, we, we would go there and we stay two hours or more on the beach. When the time comes to press them, we have to wash them, take care of them, take all, take out all the materials and then press them one by one, etc So it takes an entire day.

And then the other challenge is the recognition of the seaweed itself on the beach.

Like it comes also with the experience, but you have to know, we had our experience taking some of them home and they were absolutely impossible to press. We had some that were too thick, too, too big. They were impressible. There is a very good book actually, Seaweed of Britain and Ireland which, is showing you a list of seaweed and describes all the different texture or how they are reproduced or anything, but we had to try everything by ourselves.

It was a whole discovery journey as well for that. That we had to touch, we had to try, we might, we had to make errors.  It took a lot of time actually. And during almost an entire year, we didn’t really, we didn’t show it to anyone. We didn’t sell anything and we didn’t, we, we were just making that at home.

[00:16:19] Orla: Yep. Making all the mistakes first.

Armand: Exactly.

Orla: Now, we still make mistakes, obviously. Yeah.

[00:16:25] Geraldine: But that’s part and parcel of it as such. Okay. And in, in terms of say, like after  you turn it into these art pieces. Is there any issues with   them lasting or do they, do they stay in good condition for a finite amount of time or?

[00:16:42] Orla: So the shape stays for sure.  I suppose what we recommend with, with the real seaweed pressings is that our customers don’t place them in direct sunlight. No, again, it depends totally on the seaweed, but,  they more than likely will change color over time. Okay. The green seaweeds, especially like sea lettuce and things like that, they look amazing when they’re pressed first, but they can fade really, really quickly.

Okay. Unfortunately. So do make prints of those. So you’ll have them forever, obviously, but,  unfortunately they don’t, they don’t hold their color. And that’s kind of with most green, green seaweeds,  whereas the reds do hold their color. Now there will be some color change as well over time, but they can actually improve.

They can, you know, we get nice pinks or whatever. And there’s a certain,  seaweed called purple laver, which is actually generally brown when we pick it up but it turns this incredible purple color over time. So yeah, that’s pretty cool.

[00:17:45] Armand: And that doesn’t need even any sunlight.

Orla: No

Armand: So we kept one in a book from May to October and in five months,  it went from completely brown ….

[00:18:00] Orla: Because I was like, we’re never, we’re never going to sell that.

[00:18:03] Armand: The brown. I like it personally because it looks a bit like copper or something like that. So you see that it’s all about the taste and everything because we, we have our favorites and that are not necessarily the same.

[00:18:15] Orla: Oh,  definitely.

[00:18:16] Armand: Yeah. The transformation into purple is absolutely extraordinary. I have to say, this is something that we saw nly with this seaweed, the others, they would need an external factor to change, like sunlight or humidity or something like that. This one doesn’t need anything. It’s kept in a book and it turns by itself  from brown to purple and it’s some kind of magic.

Geraldine: Do you know why?

Armand: Not yet. No.

[00:18:48] Geraldine: Further research required.

[00:18:49] Armand: We have to do the research, yes, because we are in contact from time to time to check our species identification with,  someone from the University of Galway. Okay. So he’s retired now, but he’s absolutely passionate about seaweed. So maybe in the future, I will be able to tell you the answer ou

[00:19:12] Geraldine: The seaweed encyclopedia.

[00:19:15] Orla: Yes, exactly.

[00:19:16] Armand: Yes. Actually, that’s something,  from Ireland is that it’s one of the best known and best studied  shores in the world for seaweed.

Geraldine: Oh really?

Armand: Yes. phycology is actually quite strong in Ireland. Yes.

[00:19:31] Geraldine: That’s kind of funny. Like when I think of seaweed, like from when I was young, you know, I’d be like dodging the seaweed.

What’s in the seaweed. But like when I was looking at your prints, they were just, they were absolutely beautiful, you know. And it’s that transformation from something in my, you know, in my head, from something that I was like,  what’s in that, run around it,  to something quite beautiful. And isn’t that fantastic.

[00:19:54] Orla: And this is what we’re kind of hoping to do as well as, you know, make people aware that seaweed is a beautiful thing and,  hopefully in the future it’ll actually be a big part of our lives from a sustainability point of view, an environmental point of view.

[00:20:08] Armand: That’s something that is actually like became a big one of the goals, even if at the start we had no intention of, you know, changing the perception of seaweed, we didn’t aim at changing the perception of seaweed, but we realized that there was a world behind seaweed so much bigger than what we do. Just the both of us, we discovered, so we met last June, the author of the seaweed revolution, Vincent Dumézel is promoting seaweed,  all over the world as food and for bioplastics and for skincare from so many different applications,  that were actually,  a discovery for us.

And in that movement, because it’s growing fast, there is an explosion of interest about seaweed. He and we think that art can really change the perception of seaweed from something that is a bit a disturbance of the beach when you go swimming,  you know, you want to have the water a bit like a swimming pool, a giant swimming pool for yourself.

Yes, exactly. And in the end,  we were given a new perception because… so it’s not only a great art material. It’s also a source of food that could solve a lot of issues,  because it’s not, it doesn’t need any fresh water,  because it doesn’t need any fertilizer or pesticides and things like that.

 It is seen as a great complement of food. It’s full of protein. It’s full of nutrients. It’s full of vitamins. It’s full of iodine as well. So good for your thyroid. You can’t eat too much of it. But it’s, it’s seen as one of the great food of the future. It’s sustainable to grow.

In the whole process of promoting seaweed art is a way to change the perception of seaweed. Why? Because when you want to make people eat seaweed, when you want to create a demand, the only thing is that it is seen at the moment by most as something a bit repulsive. So not only they don’t want to swim next to it, but,  later on, they don’t want to eat it.

[00:22:43] Geraldine: Well, I have eaten it, yeah, but I didn’t mind it actually.

[00:22:45] Armand: What did you try?

Geraldine:  Dulce.

Armand: Dulce. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. We tried that as well.

[00:22:53] Geraldine: It’s kind of salty. It’s kind of a salty kind of taste.

[00:22:55] Armand: Exactly. So it has this,  umami taste that we as Europeans don’t really have. We’re not really used to it. It’s more,  Asian taste. The whole goal is to promote a sustainable food,  try to make people used to the idea of this food, try to introduce it in the place of the people,  and slowly, slowly,  yeah, introduce it in our daily lives. And in this process, art can change the perception of seaweed as something beautiful,  something a bit more appetizing and it is actually, you know,  like beautiful and appetizing and we are only missing that,  at the moment. If the perception was a bit different, we would be already eating it, I think.

It’s like everything, you know, like,  every culture has its food. So I’m French,  Orla wouldn’t eat,  maybe snails or something and it’s only cultural. I, I’ve eaten it when I was a kid. So I, I’m used to it. If you are used to it, seaweed,  when you’re a kid, then you will eat it as you’re an adult.


[00:24:15] Geraldine: So watch out the space for Seaweed.

[00:24:18] Armand: Yes. There are so many applications. And so the,…where we went, so this,  first Algae Awareness summit in Paris,  we saw so many different applications. So there was bioplastic, bioplastic that disintegrates in four to six weeks. Okay. So that means you can use this plastic one.

There was the demonstration a bit of,  you, you have your sauce, your olive oil or ketchup, whatever you want in, in, in a small plastic bag like this that you can,  you can pour and eat. It’s edible. It’s actually something that they used already,  in the London Marathon. They replaced all the plastic cups by this bioplastics full of water. Basically, there was no waste. So that was an incredible change. A whole event like this that,  usually,  you would find. Thousands of plastic cups all over the place, suddenly, poof, disappears.

[00:25:23] Geraldine: Oh my gosh, yeah. It’s about, I suppose, from your point of view, about perception, about changing the perception of seaweed.

Armand: Yes.

Geraldine: Yeah. Okay. Okay. Fair enough.

So are there any particular techniques or methods you use to preserve the color and texture of the seaweed in your artwork?

[00:25:40] Orla: There actually isn’t.

[00:25:41] Geraldine: Nothing. It’s just natural. Its just waiting.

[00:25:42] Orla: Yeah, exactly.  The color is the seaweed’s own, you know, we don’t add anything. People are like, you know, is that the real color?And we’re like, yes, yes it is.

Texture. Yeah. The texture again is just the seaweeds, seaweed’s own. We don’t do anything to it. Okay. Yeah. It is what it is.

[00:26:01] Armand: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. The difficulty, I suppose, it’s to show in 2D what you have in 3D. Yeah. So we have to,  lay it out so that you can have the impression that you see the seaweed in the water.

Sometimes we do, because it is in this oven tray that we talked about before. It is a bit swimming in the, in the oven tray. On the paper, sometimes it still looks like it’s still floating.

For the texture, I suppose, also just be very delicate because you don’t want it to rip Some are extremely fragile. Some of the seaweed have only one layer of cells.

Okay. There is one called the flat tongue weed, for instance. It’s so fine that even when it’s on the paper, when you pass your finger like this, it disappears completely. The texture is, it’s almost as if it wasn’t there. That’s why people sometimes think it’s a drawing or a painting. With these ones, you have to be extremely, extremely,  careful not to rip them off.

[00:27:09] Geraldine: Okay. Okay.  Does the end piece that you envisage dictate the type of pieces you forage?

[00:27:14] Orla: Oh,  definitely. Yeah.  like I suppose, as I was saying earlier, one of our favorites is red comb weed. Another one would be beautiful fanweed and like, they’re kind of like the ones that we really look out for on the beach.

Geraldine: And are they common?

Orla: Well, I was actually foraging this morning and didn’t come across a whole lot of either of them, to be honest. So definitely, I think there’s certain times of the year that are better for certain seaweeds.  There’s one called sea beach, which can be really, really beautiful. It’s like this vibrant pink solid leaf, I suppose, for want of a better description, but that’s kind of more the springtime of the year, you’d find better pieces . This time of the year as well, things have been battered about, you know, and looking a bit rough. So I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for this morning. Somebody’s commissioned us to do a piece so I was looking for particular species all right.

But,  I was told when I got home that this, this won’t do!

[00:28:20] Armand: Well, in that case, it’s someone who wants to make a gift for a, for a wedding. We have our way to do shapes and writings with seaweed as well. So we make special commissions sometimes and the red comb weed….so it would be a very common  seaweed. Actually, it’s everywhere on the shore, but they are sometimes very difficult to spot.

Okay. And that’s because usually you would see the big brown ones, you know, the, the serrated racks,  you would see the kelps,  they’re enormous, but you have to come and look closer. So in these big packs of serrated rack,s you have to open them or so a bit, you know, so you have to put your hands in the serrated rack to discover … that’s our skin care!

[00:29:04] Orla:  Yeah, exactly.

[00:29:05] Geraldine: You don’t need any Lodge and Spa in Inchydoney. You’ve got your own little seaweed baths going on there.  

[00:29:13] Geraldine: How do you see the connection between nature, sustainability and your artwork?

[00:29:17] Armand: The first connection with the nature and sustainability, I would say that in seaweed art for what we do,  is that we, we collect,  specimens that are washed off.

So it’s a bit like the, the old specimen, if you want,  there are  taken from the rocks and washed off on the, on the beach. So basically what they would do if we didn’t use them would, they would just decay,  in the water. So it is useful because,  the seaweeds are decaying as as nutrients,  they, they are transforming nutrients, but we collect only certain specimen and only in a certain state of their life.

Okay. And the other thing is that even for the prints or the frames are like all the products that we made, we have a very low impact

[00:30:14] Geraldine: And the process itself. It’s not all machines.

[00:30:17] Armand: Exactly. That’s another thing. Yes. Yeah. We do everything by hand. There’s no machine. It’s elbow grease. So we, we have next to zero impact, I would say.

[00:30:34] Geraldine: And as well as through markets, you sell your products through local craft shops, like Le Cheile Arts in Dunmanway and Forest & Flock in Bantry. How important is establishing relationships with local shops and do you hope to sell through more shops in the future?

[00:30:49] Orla: It’s  quite important and we have established like lovely relationships with, with the owners and managers of these shops and they’re actually really helpful. I suppose they give great feedback and they.

They kind of know what’s what, they tell us straight out, look, this is going to work, this isn’t going to work, you know, and they give us ideas. You know, one of our first shops, which unfortunately is no longer ,Wild Design, Bonnie, the owner there, she was fantastic at the beginning of our business journey and really gave us lots of like invaluable advice.

I suppose one of the main things was, you know, and I suppose this is true of all shops is, you know, have your branding right. If you want to succeed, have that ready to go,  have your story, you know, your backstory, people like that a lot. But yeah, I have to say we, we’ve had some lovely experiences with, with our shops and of course we’d love to be in many more, but  we’re really happy at the moment with who we’re stocked with, we’re recently being stocked in,  Annabel Langrish’s shop in Kenmare.

Geraldine: Oh lovely, yeah.

Orla: So,  yeah, we’re quite excited about that one.

[00:32:04] Geraldine: Very good. Yeah. And as a couple who recently set up your business, what have been the most important factors in getting your venture off the ground?

[00:32:15] Orla:  I suppose for us, really, it was our family and friends encouraging us.

[00:32:21] Armand: Encouragement and support of everyone around us.

Yes. Like the family indeed. Like Orla’s father helped us to make the first presses.

[00:32:32] Orla: Yes.  He’s very handy,

[00:32:36] Armand:  And make some boards to have them displayed, you know, in a beautiful way. That’s really making a difference.

[00:32:44] Orla: Yeah. Absolutely. And also just for letting us I suppose developed a business because we’re living with them at the moment, my mom and dad, and they’ve just been very patient, I suppose is the word.

They’re great for the feedback as well.  And I suppose actually the, the Local Enterprise Board has been great as well. We, we did the start your own business course with them and they set us up with a mentor as well, who I suppose her, her field was the creative craft side. She was fantastic with her advice as well, that really, really helped us.

[00:33:21] Geraldine: Okay. And how’s it like working together as a couple?

[00:33:25] Orla: It’s pretty good. We haven’t had any major falling out yet.

[00:33:30] Armand: We have, we have, we have a great team. We have a great team. Like we complete actually each other. Even if the, the creative process, like,  when I do things, sometimes it will be someone’s taste and,  when she does something that will be someone else’s taste. Yeah. Or like she has this great instinctive way of making abstract pressings that are speaking to people.

[00:33:59] Orla: And we kind of both have our jobs as well, like, you know, when we’re putting our prints together or, you know, like all the….you’ll do the printing and the cutting and the bits that I hate basically and il do the writing and the putting all the bits together. You know, like.

[00:34:20] Geraldine: So basically it’s like, I’ll do the pieces I want to do and you can do the rest.

[00:34:24] Orla: Exactly. Because like, again, like if I can avoid a computer, I’ll do it at all costs as well.

[00:34:31] Geraldine: Very good. Very good. We haven’t killed each other yet. So that’s a good thing. So that’s a good sign. Yeah.

And what piece of advice would you give to anyone else deciding to set up in business?

[00:34:43] Orla: I think you need to be passionate about what you’re doing, because if that’s not there, I don’t think you’ll last, maybe, and now I know we’re still very new, but we love, we love what we’re doing. And I suppose we’re lucky that it does, you know, bring us outdoors and all that side of it. But we still get excited, you know, when we, when we go to open the press,  to see how it turns out.

Like, I mean, it’s not always great. But there’s always a few good ones, you know,  but we still have that, that excitement, you know, when we go to open the press. So I would say, yeah, you need to love what you’re doing. And I suppose, yeah, again, the family support, family and friends support is quite, you know, I find… I really value that -to have a good support system there.

[00:35:37] Armand: Don’t be afraid to try things,  to go shake hands as well, because sometimes…We only, you know, went to a shop to say hello. And there was this one time we were coming back from Castletownbere. I see, you know, the sign at Adrigole Arts. Just out of curiosity, I enter the shop and then we talk. And, and that’s it. And that’s how we entered the shop, really. Like sometimes you just need to say hello to people. And they are actually very encouraging. So if you have something and you kind of think, Oh, maybe people won’t like that. Just try it once, try it twice.


Geraldine: If you don’t ask…


Armand:  Exactly. We have had other experiences with shops who say no, you know, and it’s okay.Like we don’t need to be necessarily everywhere. It has been a journey of rediscovering ourselves because I was not the kind of man at all who would, you know, go randomly to people and say, hi, I’m making this. Do you want it/

[00:36:44] Geraldine: Its pushed you out of your comfort zone,

[00:36:48] Orla: Yeah. And that’s the worst thing they can say is, is no, like it’s not the end of the world.

[00:36:52] Armand: Try things with people, try things with your art, because we made also plenty of experiments, some worked, some didn’t. And in the end, we expanded so much the horizons of things that we did in the first place.

Geraldine: What are your future plans?

[00:37:08] Orla: I suppose to steadily grow the business. I’d love to kind of explore the whole side of potentially using the seaweed prints on other textiles.

So we’re not exactly sure yet on which ones, but I’d love to use them in that way. I suppose stationary interests me quite a bit, but,  it’s just to do the research. So that’d be a road that I’d like to go down.

[00:37:38] Geraldine: There’s a big, bold, seaweed world out there.


Orla & Armand There is, yes,

[00:37:42] Armand: And,  for us as a business, let’s say we, we, we, we really want to keep doing the workshops because they’re encouraging us as well to, to keep going with our arts.

We, we meet people who know nothing about seaweed, basically, like most of the time,  out of, I would say nine out of 10 people know nothing about seaweed and they go from the workshops knowing at least three, four names and they would recognize them on the beach. They would be able to press them.

That’s actually fantastic to see. You know, how seaweed art could be expanded like  this. So we, we would like to, to continue the workshops. We are actually,   going to do some in both Le Cheile Arts in Dunmanway and in Annabelle Languish in Ahakista . And we are trying new things as well,  pressing wise.

That’s also,  an experiment only at the moment.

[00:38:50] Geraldine: Okay. So, well, thank you so much Orla and Armand for taking the time to chat to us on Cork Creative. If you’d like to learn more about Farraige and their very unique pieces of local art, you can find links to them on our website corkcreative.ie

[00:39:02] Orla: Thank you so much for having us.

[00:39:04] Armand: Thank you very much.