Lily Reilly graduated from Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork City in 2011 after studying graphic design and then training as an art and design teacher at secondary level.
‘Throughout my studies, which were very full on with full-time hours, I worked part-time jobs and had very little free time. I spent any spare time I had drawing and when I graduated I realised that my heart really lay in creating my own brand and working as an artist/designer. I have always loved flowers (I’m even named after one!) and intricate work. I work in an organic way, building an image naturally in a unique lacing illustrative style and have spent nearly a decade refining this and my original pattern, titled ‘Flower Bomb’ which you can see in a lot of my work. I named my brand ‘Petal to Petal’ as it described the way that I illustrate, one petal to another.’
‘I create fine art pieces, prints and stationery. My work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in London, Paris and Berlin. I recently moved home to where I grew up in the beautiful countryside of West Cork, Ireland and live here with my husband and our little cats Poppy, Mia and Dotty. Taking inspiration from the patterns in nature and especially those found in flowers, I particularly love working in monochrome and just concentrating on the shapes and detail of a design. When working I tend to amalgamate the most intriguing detail from a number of different flowers into one representation. If I look out of the windows in my home studio I see mountains, rolling fields, a forest and the sea so I am instantly inspired.’
‘My latest work focuses on the tradition of lace making in Ireland, something that many people view as ‘old and dusty’ but is so intricate and beautiful and requires so much patience and time to create. I combine different types of Irish lace to create contemporary works entirely by hand. To do this, I learn the lace stitches to make sure that everything is genuine and I create different images with them. An example of this is the piece ‘Cork Lace’ which I illustrated in Youghal Lace, the most detailed type of Irish lace (it took quite some time to learn those stitches!). Each drawing is created by hand in one single piece- and if I make a mistake (which touch wood, has hardly happened!) I start all over again. My aim is to create beautiful objects and pieces of art that people would love to have in their homes. I feel very lucky and privileged to be able to do this as a full-time job and love every minute of it.’