Damien McKeown originally trained in furniture design and music technology prior to starting work at Mourne Textiles. With the support of QEST Pilgrim Trust funding, QEST Scholar Mario Sierra provided Damien with 1:1 training on the Haddlesey Looms and helped him master the craft of weaving. From selecting the correct yarn type and colour to use for a particular weave, to making the warp, transferring the warp from the mill to the loom and making bobbins fit for purpose, they covered all aspects of the craft.
Damien is one of the main hand weavers for the furnishing fabrics, but his apprenticeship has been designed for him to learn all aspects of the craft of weaving for interiors, furnishing and clothing and the running of the workshop.
Describing his QEST journey into textile weaving, Damien says: ‘It’s varied and fulfilling. It’s satisfying to watch something being created from the components – basic yarn – and then made into a cushion, blanket, or furnishing fabric. To see a chair, for example, upholstered in that fabric is very cool. There’s a lot of job satisfaction. The heritage of Mourne Textiles is special too: knowing that you’re involved in something with so much history, reinvented for modern times.’